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OSCE Presence: Investigate allegations of election violations such as vote buying and abuse of state resources

OSCE Presence: Investigate allegations of election violations such as vote

In his last activity as the Chairman of the OSCE Presence in Albania, Ambassador Bruce Berton hosted today the special meeting of the International Working Group on Elections, which was attended by heads of embassies of OSCE participating States and international organizations. in Albania.

The meeting focused on OSCE/ODIHR recommendations after the local elections of May 14, 2023 and the subsequent visit to Tirana. Also, the latest efforts related to electoral reform and the need for continuous progress in this direction were discussed.

"I hope that the leaders and representatives of different political parties and groups will rise above the divisions and party interests and take concrete steps towards a single-minded reform", said Ambassador Berton.

"The decision of the Assembly on the establishment of the special commission for the electoral reform determines that the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR are the main guide for the electoral reform. The recommendations are addressed to a wide range of actors, including political actors, the Central Election Commission, state authorities, public institutions and others, and everyone must do their part".

Emphasizing that all recommendations are important and deserve attention, Ambassador Berton pointed out three main areas that require increased attention:

Thorough and prompt investigation of allegations of serious electoral violations such as vote buying, voter pressure and abuse of state resources for electoral benefits, along with raising awareness of these negative phenomena;

Guaranteeing the secrecy of voting through effective procedural safeguards applicable by the responsible authorities when talking about the prevention of voter intimidation, group voting, proxy voting, etc.

Addressing some issues related to the role of the media in elections, in particular: - avoiding or at least limiting the use in news of materials produced by parties/state authorities; - promoting an independent and truly diverse media environment that is free from political/private influence and that limits the concentration of media ownership.

The International Working Group on Elections is a forum created by the initiative of the OSCE Presence in Albania, which meets periodically to exchange information and to coordinate positions and assistance on electoral issues.

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