OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Slovakia’s Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák, OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) George Tsereteli and OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella regret the continuing political tension in Albania and have made the following statement:
“The OSCE has been closely monitoring events and has repeatedly urged all relevant actors to engage in constructive politics, respect the country’s democratic processes, and exhibit restraint. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that Albanian actors work together to break the current impasse, engage in dialogue without preconditions, and ensure that the conduct of elections this Sunday is peaceful. We urge all stakeholders to uphold the rule of law, respect the constitutional roles of the respective democratic institutions and fundamental rights, and avoid violence; both the perpetrators and instigators of violent acts should be held legally accountable. We also call on law enforcement institutions to use proportionate measures.
While acknowledging the right of Albanians to peaceful means of protest, the OSCE firmly condemns the recent violent attacks targeting the bodies in charge of organizing elections in municipalities across Albania, damaging schools and voting materials. All political and administrative controversies must be settled in accordance with the rule of law and legal processes. Any attempt to derail the democratic process through violent action stalls the progress of Albania and stains the country’s international reputation. Any election-related legal infringements, including vote buying, abuse of public resources, and exertion of election-related pressure on public sector employees, should result in appropriate legal consequences.
Given the country’s progress in key areas in recent years, exemplified by unanimous approval by all 56 other participating States of Albania’s bid to chair the OSCE in 2020, we are convinced that Albania will be able to make progress if a mature sense of responsibility regarding the country’s progress and reputation are fostered domestically.
As always, the OSCE stands ready – as a supporter and friend – to work with national institutions towards advancing the country’s priorities, ultimately in the interest of all Albania’s citizens. After 30 June, the OSCE will be strongly advocating for reinvigorated efforts towards reform in the country, including with respect to the judiciary, according to the demands and aspirations of Albania’s people.”