On 5 April, EU Ambassador Christiane Hohmann and US Ambassador Yuri Kim met with State Election Commissioner, Ilirjan Celibashi.
Commissioner Celibashi briefed the Ambassadors about the Central Elections Commission’s preparations ahead of the local elections of 14 May 2023. In addition, the Commissioner emphasized the CEC’s efforts to guarantee a fair competition, including monitoring misuse of state resources and financial disclosure transparency.
The two Ambassadors noted that it was central to the electoral process that institutions such as CEC were allowed to do their job without interference and that people should be able to choose freely who to vote for. Ambassador Hohmann linked the conduct of elections to Albania’s way towards EU membership: “Albania’s accession process is underway and the screening of the first cluster whereby elections are an important component of the fundamentals, has concluded. Therefore, increased attention will be paid to the conduct of the municipal elections,” Ambassador Hohmann said. The two Ambassadors also stressed the importance of candidates’ integrity in elections, and of having a level playing field for electoral contenders. They emphasised that the CEC should maintain the credibility and respect achieved so far and focus on the implementation of outstanding ODIHR recommendations.
Commissioner Celibashi thanked the EU and US for their support to the CEC and electoral process more widely. Celibashi appreciated in particular the EU-funded digital platform for party and campaign financing reporting, implemented through the Council of Europe.