Tirana, May 15, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
Representatives of government institutions, parliament, political parties, civil society and international organizations met in Tirana to discuss issues concerning the financing of political parties and electoral campaigns. The event was organized by the Central Election Commission (CEC) with the support of the OSCE Presence in Albania.
Addressing participants were Lefterie Luzi, Chairperson of the Central Election Commission; IlirjanCelibashi, Minister for Relations with Parliament; Oerd Bylykbashi, member of parliament and electoral issues expert, and Marcin Walecki, Chief of the Democratic Governance and Gender Unit at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
“Political parties need to serve as beacons of integrity in Albanian society and place at the heart of their decisions the interest of the public,” said Ambassador Florian Raunig, Head of the OSCE Presence. “Lack of integrity and transparency among political parties undermines the country’s democratic processes and damages its economy. It directly influences the country’s security and long-term stability.”
Raunig said that the CEC needs adequate resources and must be legally empowered to properly monitor the financing of parties and election campaigns. “The CEC cannot tackle this oversight alone. Much depends on the level of co-operation by political parties as well as relevant state agencies. Attentive monitoring from society is also needed.”
Raunig added that while the legislative framework on political party financing has been continuously improving over the past few years, proper implementation of the legislation is lagging behind. He suggested further legislative improvements in line with the recommendations made in OSCE/ODIHR election observation reports.
The OSCE/ODIHR 2013 election observation mission report recommended that in order to enhance the transparency of campaign financing, political parties should regularly report to the CEC all income and expenditures for campaign purposes. In addition, the CEC should publish preliminary campaign finance reports prior to Election Day. In its 2011 report on local elections, the OSCE/ODIHR said that consideration could be given to making receipt of public funds for campaign finance contingent on respecting the gender requirement. This would provide additional incentives for political parties to enhance women’s participation in their party structures and decision-making.
The OSCE Presence stands ready to continue supporting Albania to ensure the fair and transparent regulation of political parties, including matters related to their financing./ibna/