The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities at the Council of Europe approved the resolution for the elections of June 2015 in Albania, based on the draft passed by the British Rapporteur, Stewart Dickson, and with the evaluations of Declan McDonnell, the Irish representative of the Commission of Regions, part of the observing mission.
"What I would say for Albania is different and unusual. The fir st strange aspect is that a country with 2.8 million residents has 3.2 million voters. 50% of this number voted, and this means that 70% of those who live in Albania have actually voted", McDonnell declared.
He said that the decisions of the Central Election Commission judged by the First Instance Court were not democratic at all. Also the voting of the disabled, in all poll stations that he had visited. The race, according to him, was not fair for the independent candidates, who had no funds from the state budget.
Rapporteur Dickson congratulated the Albanian authorities for organizing the elections according to the new territorial administration, and mentioned the concerns of the opposition and the claims for bribe and vote purchase.
"The observers of the Congress heard the claims for intimidation and pressure on the public sector employees. We were made aware about the potential vote purchase and bribes to the members of the electoral commissions. These practices are unacceptable and the Albanian authorities should not hesitate to hear all the potential cases of fraud", Dickson declared.
On behalf of the Albanian delegation, the Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj, promised to follow the recommendations of Strasbourg, especially for the irregularities.
Veliaj said he was happy with the findings of the report "progress compared to the elections of 2013", for a civilized electoral campaign, for the maturity of voters, for the fact that the electoral process was considered safe, and that for the first time Albania fulfilled the new criteria for having 50% of the municipal council staff made of females.
The 29th plenary session of the congress of local and regional authorities coincides with the 30th anniversary of the European Card of Local Self-Governing, ratified 17 years ago by Albania. Strasbourg announced that after three days, in Vlore, will be held the ceremony for the Local Democracy Agency.