Albania President Urged to Declare Election Date

The Coalition of Local Observers, a Tirana-based watchdog group, on Tuesday urged President Bujar Nishani to declare the date of the 2013 elections as soon as possible.According to the NGOs, “the declaration of an election date would give public institutions the time they need to start a series of important procedures for the installation of election infrastructure”.

The deadline prescribed by law to announce the general election date is December 7, 2012.

But the NGOs say that, according to the electoral code, preparations for the use of information technology in the 2013 parliamentary poll should have begun on October 1.

Albania has suffered a long and tumultuous transition to democracy since it emerged from the Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha in 1991.

No elections held since the collapse of the regime have met international standards and allegations of fraud and disputed results have been widespread.

The 2013 elections are considered a key test by the European Commission for Albania’s further progress in its EU integration process.

“The conduct of the 2013 parliamentary elections will be a crucial test in this regard and a pre-condition for any recommendation to open [membership] negotiations,” the Commission said on October 10.

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