Tirana Promises Albanians Abroad Voting Rights in Elections

Changes to the electoral code approved as part of a wider agreement between the parties foresee giving Albanians outside the country the right to vote in elections without having to travel back home – although the exact procedures has yet to be determined.

Albania plans to provide “citizens residing abroad” with the right to vote in parliamentary elections but the exact procedure will have to await further decisions by a five-member commission appointed by parliament, which makes the change unlikely to be operational in elections due next year.

Parliament on Thursday approved the long-awaited Electoral Reform by 100 votes to six, in what is billed as an important step before accession negotiations can open between Albania and the European Union, as well for bringing the main opposition parties back in to political institutions that they are currently boycotting.

The changes were first approved on June 5 at a council of the main political parties in the country.

Under the changes, the Central Election Commission, CEC, “oversees the process of preparing the conditions for … measures that would make possible voting from abroad in parliamentary elections by voters living permanently outside … Albania and who have resident address registered in the National Registry of Civil Status, and it requires the CEC to secure voting materials at their homes”.

It added: “Voting from abroad will be administered by CEC after the Regulator has approved all the necessary bylaws”. The Regulator will be a five-member commission elected by parliament later this year.

The next parliamentary elections in Albania are expected to be held in April or May 2021, which leaves little time to implement this change.

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