TIRANA, April 21 – The US Embassy to Tirana said on Friday it urges any political representatives considering to run to register in the upcoming June 30 local elections.
Responding to the Voice of America regarding its stand on the local elections and the announced lack of participation by opposition parties, while the deadline for registration at the Central Election Commission is nearing, the Charge d’Affaires Leyla Moses-Ones brought to attention the statements of Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer during his visit in Tirana, who called on resigned parties to re-engage in the political process.
According to the US representatives, participation in the local elections is the best way for them to do this.
The embassy “welcomes open and energetic democratic competition through the ballot box. Albanian voters should have the opportunity to choose between a wide range of candidates that will truly represent them. We encourage anyone who intends to run to register,” Moses-Ones said.
At the same time, Moses-Ones congratulated the younger opposition candidates who have been swearing in as lawmakers after the united opposition decided to resign its parliamentary mandates, calling their steps towards formalizing their presence as the new opposition MPs as constructive.
“This continuation of parliamentary processes – including the introduction of new MPs, development of debates and the adoption of laws – is a sign of the continuity and stability of this important democratic institution,” she said.
On Thursday, the Democratic Party and the Socialist Movement for Integration formally announced that they are heading towards the boycott of local elections.
The Democratic Party presidency approved a proposal by head of the DP Lulzim Basha according to which the DP “can register in elections only after conditions have been created for free and fair elections.”
According to the DP, the grave political crisis in the country does not allow democratic standards for free and fair elections.
But apart from not participating, the DP, with Basha’s proposal, will also engage in keeping the elections from taking place normally.
“The Democratic Party of Albania is committed through the defense of democracy and the right of free vote not to allow, other than free elections, an electoral show,” the announcement stated, while also clarifying that it is engaged “to disable through the escalation of opposition and citizen action, the development of fake elections, dictated by organized crime and dirty money that destroy democracy and the will of Albanian citizens.”
Meanwhile, the second opposition party Socialist Movement for Integration reacted in a similar manner, announcing it will be joining the DP in its resignation.