Despite low voter turnout, vote buying, intimidation and political unrest, there are signs of hope from the Albanian parliamentary election. With neither party managing to secure a majority in either 2009 or 2013, pre-election polling looked set for another coalition government being formed. Read all about the Albanian parliamentary elections here!
In the run up to the Albanian parliamentary elections, both the PS and PD – the main competing parties secured a deal ensuring that Albania would attempt to secure EU membership. While securing membership status in 2014, Albania has failed to implement any of the economic and structural reforms deemed necessary for full EU membership. At the top of the list is reforming a deeply corrupt judicial system. Albania has the highest emigration levels in the world, with nearly 30% youth unemployment. Job creation and economic growth are a priority for the PD government.
Albanian Parliamentary Election – Exit Polling
The Albanian Parliament is made up of 140 seats, requiring a majority of 71 to form a majority government. Exit polls are stating that the Incumbent Socialist Party (PS) is on track to win an overall majority in the Albanian parliamentary elections.The junior partner in the previous coalition government, the Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI).
Socialist Party (PS) – 51.39%
The Democratic Party of Albania (PD) – 28.53%
Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI) – 15.65%
Last week, the French parliamentary election had a similarly concerning turnout. Albania is reporting a turnout of just 45%. While this may change with the official results, it is a significant drop from the 52.7% turnout in 2013.
Election Fraud & Inter-Party Tension.
Since the collapse of the Communist Party, Albanian elections have been marred by widespread election fraud and strong rivalries that often turn to violence. In the run-up to the election, dedicated phone lines were established to report vote buying or intimidation. Ledina Mandija (deputy PM) claimed that armed groups had been sighted in Delvine, Velipoje, Shkoder and Lezhe and were involved in vote buying. Tension between supporters of PS and between LSI are fraught, with reports of voter intimidation in Shkodra and Durres. Tensions seem to have culminated with a LSI member being shot outside of a Shengijin polling station.
In order to combat corruption and election fraud, over 3000 members of election monitoring organizations were deployed across the country. Free and fair elections are one of the core principles guiding the EU. Ultimately, if Albania is to gain membership into the European bloc, their election system must be fraud free.