“The current CEC [central electoral commission] has lost its legitimacy and responsible for the deadlock is the ruling majority who replaced the commissioner proposed by the Socialist Movement for Integration, Ilirjan Muho,” Socialist MP Damian Gjiknuri told a press conference on Thursday.
“The solution is the re-composition of the CEC with three members nominated by the majority, three by the opposition and the head of the CEC selected with consensus in accordance with the electoral code,” he added.
The CEC is a seven-member collegial body tasked with overseeing elections in Albania. Although its members are proposed by political parties, with a formula that grants the ruling coalition the right to propose four of the seven members, the CEC is considered an independent institution.
But the CEC is currently operating with only four members after a controversial vote in parliament, which replaced Muho on April 15, was followed by the resignation of three other commissioners, who described the move as unconstitutional.
The electoral code states that some of the CEC’s rulings, for example the declaration of election results, require at least a five-to-two majority.
The opposition has so far refused to nominate new commissioners, but Prime Minister Sali Berisha rejected the idea of negotiations.
“[The Socialists] should return their members to the CEC because there will be no changes made in the institution,” Berisha said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the United States, Albania’s biggest ally, has called on the Socialists and the ruling Democrats to negotiate a solution to restore credibility and trust to the electoral commission.
“In order to have a good election, you need a functioning CEC. Not a CEC based on a charade; it needs to be the result of political consensus, an agreement,” the US ambassador to Tirana, Alexander Arvizu, said on Wednesday.