Das hat jetzt die höchste Priorität im Lande Albanien
Albanian government launches ID programme
A better voter identification system is a top priority for the country, says Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha.
By Erlis Selimaj for Southeast European Times in Tirana 20/03/07
Each time the country holds an election, voters must use birth certificates and various other documents to prove their identity.
During elections, Albanians have had to rely on birth certificates and other means of identification to prove who they are. The hassles involved have sparked a furor every election cycle. The government is now seeking to address the problem by reviving the idea of ID cards, first proposed seven years ago.
According to authorities, the ID cards will be issued to citizens over the age of 16. To prevent fraudulent use, the cards will include the owner’s fingerprints, a computer chip containing data about the bearer, and an unchangeable identification number.
Introducing this new form of ID will “get rid of the certificate mania once and for all,” Prime Minister Sali Berisha promises. According to him, the initiative is a top priority and the government is prepared to reallocate state funds to the Interior Ministry to ensure its implementation.
The new IDs are meant not only to help ensure smoother elections in the future, but also to help the country fulfil the conditions put forward by the EU within the framework of its Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Albania.
The drawbacks of using birth certificates emerged once again during last month’s local elections, which were plagued by complaints. The international community has been urging Albania to overhaul its ID system as part of overall election reform.
Analysts have welcomed the government move, while noting that the new ID process will require a census. This, in turn, will make it necessary to account for the number of Albanians who live abroad.
The debate over the ID cards is not new. In 2000, authorities tried to issue an “election card” for all those eligible to vote. However, the project failed as authorities rushed to complete the process without adequate planning.
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