It took forty days to certify the result of the 23 elections last June in Albania and for the umpteenth time the administration of the trial after the e-day from the scrutiny of the votes to the allocation of seats demonstrates the inefficiency of the current system and its control by the policy. In most of the 12 constituencies the ballot lasted at least three days and it is unacceptable that many days are needed to scrutinize - for example - the 81 thousand cards of the Lezha constituency and in total about 1.800.000 votes. To give an idea, with the same rhythm at the last elections in Italy 60 days would have been needed to count the 35 million votes for the Chamber of Deputies and 120 if we add also those for the Senate.
The inefficiency of the ballot is partly due to the system adopted by the parties themselves to reduce fraud to a minimum: the 5508 polling station boards are scrutinized in the 89 ballot centers and each board must pass under the room to be registered and also projected for the observers present. On the other hand, the delays are mainly due to the political parties that appoint not only scrutinizers, but the entire pyramid of electoral administration. Consequently in the "hot zones" the substitution of the scrutinizers and the interruptions of the process of scrutiny can be frequent or timed.
Obviously, the core of the entire system remains the Central Electoral Commission composed of four members of the majority and three of the opposition. Since last April only the four of the outgoing majority have been sitting there because with the replacement of the member of the socialists for integration, the three of the center-left opposition have resigned.
However, the remaining four members of the CEC have administered the entire electoral process and in some cases have clearly shown that they cannot break free from their political mentors. For example, the recount of all the Scutari constituency ballots has been deliberated and carried out without any indication and without the qualified majority of 5 at 2. The situation in the Lezha district is different, in which the use of the photocopied tables in 10 seats and the discrepancy in the results led the CEC - at the request of the PD - to recount the 10 seats and then the whole district, always without the qualified majority of 5 at 2. On the other hand, the CEC has delayed the investigations requested by the socialists to verify the real presence of emigrant voters in some areas of Lezha because according to their data these citizens during the e-day were abroad.
And if the deadlines for appeals in the other ten constituencies had not passed, no one can say with certainty that the CEC would not have been tempted to recount all the cards.
The Electoral College of the Court of Appeals of Tirana on appeal of the socialists ruled that the recount of the Lezha constituency cards had been illegitimate because 5's qualified majority was missing. On the other hand, given the irregularities present in the case of the ten seats in Lezha, the Electoral College accepted the recourse of the Democrats and recounted the cards of these seats that changed the result in favor of the center-right coalition for about 2 votes. Instead, on the case of Scutari, the Electoral College has postponed the hearing and when the Socialists recounted, they wanted to withdraw the appeal.
Illegitimate or not, the recount to Lezhe and Scutari showed that the system needs to be improved despite there were no major differences between the declared results and those recounted to also re-determine the allocation of seats. A Lezhe on 81.000 votes around 700 have passed from the center-left coalition to the center-right one, but in most of the seats the results of the recount differed if only slightly compared to those declared. To be clear, the district of Lezha was one of the hot zones and the only one in which even a person lost his life during the e-day.
In Scutari the stolen votes turn out to be even less and above all within the same coalition. In the first 60 seats, the recount ascertained that the four major parties (PS, PD, LSI, PR) steal the votes of their minor allies in their respective coalitions. Instead, in the remaining seats it faithfully reflected the results shown in the final tables. Ironically, the Republicans who claimed to have been robbed and therefore deprived of a seat in parliament lost about a hundred votes as well as their major allies, the Democrats. Obviously the two main parties of the center-left have not been saved from the vice of fraud: PS and LSI. However, the phenomenon of fraud even to a very limited extent could also be determined by the fact that the two coalitions were convinced that the result between winners and losers would be very tight and also considering the electoral system adopted: every single vote is tempting. On the other hand, the interests of local candidates could also prevail over possible party orders not to allow fraud.
The recount was also determined by at least two political factors: the internal elections to the PD and the alibi to be used in the next legislature by the center-right opposition. The Democrats held the primaries for the election of the new leader the 22 last July and the recount in the circumscriptions of Lezha and Scutari began the 20 July. It seems so much a find to compact the party from internal feuds after the heavy electoral defeat and shift the attention of the media and public opinion on the recount rather than on the primaries of the first party of the future opposition. And then re-counting the votes, Berisha wanted to slap Rama for the umpteenth time, to whom he denied for 4 four years the recount of the votes of the 2009 elections and in 2013 in the blink of an eye the CEC has deliberated without recounting the recount in the constituency of Scutari.
Although the elements resulting from the recount are not sufficient to transform it into one of the strong points of the political center-right opposition, it seems that the Democrats want to try the same. Strong of the irregularities present in the ten seats of Lezha, Berisha did not want to wait any longer, declaring that the new majority "of organized crime and drug trafficking" won the elections thanks to fraud and the Democrats will not recognize the result of the elections until the recount of every single ballot. Pure demagogy because the terms for appeals in the other ten constituencies had expired and the Democrats had not presented one. Instead, with the recount in the Scutari district, it seemed that the democrats would abandon the cause of the recount, but after a couple of days of silence, they returned waving virulently.
For their part, the socialists have handled the appeals and recount phase with great tension. Among them and in the media to their neighbors there was a fear of tampering with the polls deposited in the State Archives, as they claimed it had happened in the 2011 during the administrative elections for the Municipality of Tirana, where Edi Rama lost to Lulzim Basha . However, they opposed the recount precisely because the CEC did not have the qualified majority to do so and the Electoral College proved them right in the case of Lezha. On the other hand, they also withdrew the appeal presented for the repetition of the elections in the whole district of Lezha for the irregularities found. Reason? Do not delay the certification of results and the distribution of seats, procedures concluded by the Electoral College last 2 August because the CEC lacks a qualified majority.
During the presentation of his team of ministers, last July 31, Edi Rama declared that he will guarantee to the new opposition what was denied to him for four years, that is the establishment of a commission of inquiry and the opening of the ballot boxes for make transparency. Is it true?
Surely the establishment of an efficient electoral administration independent of politics in all its levels can only be one of the challenges of the next government and parliament. We need to see if the majority and the opposition will find the common will to succeed.
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