THE STATEMENT OF PRESIDENT MOISIU ABOUT THE DATE OF LOCAL ELECTIONS.
December 2, 2006
The upcoming local elections are the first ones being held after the parliamentary elections of last year during which important achievements were marked and the democratic rotation of power took place. This way the upcoming elections must be better, more fair and democratic that the past ones so Albania can finally pass the test of electoral processes and elections.
For this reason, on December 2005, only one hundred days after the conclusion of the parliamentary elections, I gathered a round table on the electoral reform with the participation of all the parliamentary political parties. Twelve political parties signed a document according to which they immediately would begin the work to found the commission of the reform, to consensually improve the legislation according to the ODHIR recommendations and in general, to take the necessary measures that would bring about the preparation of free, fair and democratic elections in Albania. As it has become already known, the political parties did not keep their promise and the foreseen reform was procrastinated for more than a year. At the end of August of this year, the ruling majority and the opposition signed another agreement on consensual amendments in the Constitution, Central Election Commission, and Electoral Code and in some other institutions elected by the Assembly. It is already known that this agreement has not yet been implemented by not keeping this way the promises made under the guarantee of European Union and OSCE.
On September 2006 I gathered a second round table composed of the parliamentary political parties in order to consult about the date of the local elections and to encourage the electoral reform. I publicly declared that if the political parties would not decide otherwise through a parliamentary consensus, then I would respect the legal timeframe in setting the date of the elections. I publicly invited the political parties to find the dialogue and respect the agreement, but even after the numerous appeals made by the Head of State, European Union, United States, Council of Europe, ODHIR and OSCE the promised electoral has not bear any result.
Under these circumstances, on the end of October the European Parliament, with the approval of the Albanian parliamentary delegation, officially demanded for the electoral reform to be concluded by the month of November, in order to pave the way for setting the date of local elections. As it can be noticed, we are leaving behind November and nothing has changed. Not wanting to determine the responsibilities for each side, I observe that the promises made for free and fair elections are contrary to the real developments in the field. The political parties, although in reality they have started the electoral campaign, refuse to cooperate in order to reach a consensual solution about the preparation and holding of the elections.
As the Head of State I express the deep concern about this unacceptable situation. The free, fair and democratic elections bear a major significance for Albania and its Euro-Atlantic future. Any obstacle in this direction presents a political and moral act that would have negative consequences for the interests for the country. Once again I invite the political neither parties to realize that they do not have the monopoly over the democratic system and that the elections do not belong to them nor are they their privilege. The elections are a constitutional obligation. They are periodical and unavoidable. The elections are not held for the political parties, but for the citizens, who have the opportunity to choose through their secret votes those who would govern in the upcoming years. In this context, the political parties have no right and no excuse to deny to the citizens the constitutional right of electing and using their secret vote. They immediately must give up the reciprocal mistrust and keep the promises made in the agreements with the President, international factor and among themselves.
Two days ago, in order to use the last appeal for consensus and implementation of the electoral reform, I made it public that today I will face the media to fulfill the constitutional obligation of declaring the date of local elections. In accordance to Article 92.gj of the Constitution of Albania and Article 7 of the Electoral Code, I invite the citizens of Albania to come to vote for the local elections on the maximal deadline, on Saturday, January 20, 2007. I publicly call on the Executive branch of power and on the Central Election Commission to fulfill on time and without equivoque the legal obligations of the electoral process. I call on the political parties and the candidates to respect the law, to prepare and conduct a truly competitive and fair electoral campaign as I also call on the citizens to use culture and self-restrain, to join the campaign and to massively participate in the elections. The young Albanian democracy is being tested; we all have the opportunity, within the available time frame, to help pass this test successfully by holding free, fair and democratic elections. I also call on the media to observe closely this process and to be a strict critic of any possible behavior or action that goes contrary to this major national interest.
Good luck to all!
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