Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Albania in the News

I've gotten regular updates on the events on Albania that relate to the upcoming election from Leslie Smith - the Director of Recruiting for PAE-REACT (the company that overseas American volunteers to the OSCE).
Here's what I got from her this morning:
"Some of you have already departed, but many of you will have a chance to see this prior to your mission. These clips are from the Southeast European Times:"

Albania's Parties Urged Not to Change Representatives in Local Election Bodies

TIRANA, Albania -- Ilirjan Celibashi, the head of the Central Election Commission, on Tuesday (21 June) urged all parties registered to participate in the 3 July parliamentary elections to avoid replacing party representatives to the regional election bodies. Celibashi noted that by law, political formations have the right to make such changes but he urged them not to, saying there is no time to train replacements. (Albanian News - 22/06/05)

US Encourages Albania to Hold Fair Elections

WASHINGTON, United States -- The 3 July elections in Albania are among the most important events there since the fall of communism, US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Thursday (23 June). "Elections that meet international standards will be seen by the United States and the international community as evidence that Albania is making clear progress on the road to becoming a full member of the Euro-Atlantic community," he said. Ereli also praised Albanian political leaders for signing a code of conduct ahead of the vote.(Albanian news - 24/06/05; AP, Reuters - 23/06/05)

OSCE Warns of Problems in Albania's Upcoming Elections

TIRANA, Albania -- The 3 July elections could be marred by irregularities, the OSCE warned in a report released Friday (24 June). Despite an agreement between all major parties, the election campaign has become rancorous once again, with politicians accusing each other of misuse of government funds and vote buying, the organisation's monitors said. They also warned that authorities must still address issues related to voter lists and transporting ballot boxes. The elections are viewed as a crucial test of Albania's political maturity, in relation to its Euro-Atlantic bids. (Albanian News, Kathimerini - 25/06/05; AP - 24/06/05)

Polls Show Upcoming Albanian Election Too Close to Call

TIRANA, Albania -- The 3 July parliamentary election is too close to call, according to a second poll by Mjaft and Gallup that was published Sunday (26 June). Former President Sali Berisha's Democrats are projected to get 35 per cent of the vote, compared to 34 per cent for Prime Minister Fatos Nano's Socialists. The survey of 1,400 voters was taken from 13 June to 20 June. On Friday, Berisha told the German news agency DPA that he expects the Democrats to win "an absolute majority" in the 140-member parliament. (Kathimerini - 27/06/05; AP - 26/06/05; Albanian News - 25/06/05)

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