News / Europe

US Prods Albania to End Election Commission 'Charade'

Police guard the entrance of Albania's Central Election Commission during a protest, Tirana, May 21, 2011.Police guard the entrance of Albania's Central Election Commission during a protest, Tirana, May 21, 2011.
x
Police guard the entrance of Albania's Central Election Commission during a protest, Tirana, May 21, 2011.
Police guard the entrance of Albania's Central Election Commission during a protest, Tirana, May 21, 2011.
Reuters
The United States has brought its influence to bear in Albania to try to end a stalemate over reconstituting the country's electoral commission to assure free and fair voting in June.
 
Albania, a member of NATO, has yet to hold an election deemed free and fair by international monitors in more than two decades since its transition to democracy from the Stalinist rule of late dictator Enver Hoxha.
 
Albania's government and opposition announced election coalitions to meet a Wednesday deadline, but said nothing about the dysfunctional Central Election Commission (CEC), prompting Washington to vent its displeasure publicly.
 
"In order to have a good election, you need a functioning CEC, not a CEC based on a charade," said U.S. Ambassador Alexander Arvizu, addressing reporters in the town of Korce on Wednesday. "It needs to be the result of political consensus, an agreement."
 
With three opposition-nominated members having quit the CEC to protest the sacking of a fellow commissioner, the four remaining state-appointed members cannot validate the polls.
 
Polarization between the two mainstream political parties, concerns about lapses in Albanian democracy and the slow pace of reform have stalled the country's quest to join the EU. Albania remains prone to violence and instability.
 
Both the United States and EU had strongly advised the Tirana government against firing a CEC commissioner named by a coalition partner who later defected to the opposition.
 
Arvizu warned time was running out, making it more important "for the sides to come together and reconstitute the CEC," echoing EU calls to create confidence in the integrity of elections in Albania.
 
"The pieces are all in place. No charade, just get down to serious business, a functioning CEC," Arvizu said. "There's probably more than one solution, but a solution is possible. We expect it to happen."
 
There was no immediate reaction from political parties.
 
The Democratic Party of Prime Minister Sali Berisha is in coalition with 24 other parties on a platform of easing high unemployment and advancing the poor Balkan state towards the EU.
 
The Socialist Party led by Edi Rama, which seeks to oust the Democrats from office after two four-year terms, is allied with 39 other parties in a coalition for a "European Albania."
 
Creating large coalitions is necessary under Albania's regional proportional system to maximize the power of each vote.
 
Albania was a Stalinist dictatorship from World War II until 1990. But it enjoyed enviable rates of economic growth from the turn of the century until the crisis broke in Europe's single-currency bloc, cutting into remittances from some one million Albanian migrants in Italy and Greece.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More