U.S. Embassy Statement

We welcome the cross-party agreement on electoral reform in Albania, which strengthens the guarantee for free and fair elections and moves Albania forward on its European path. This agreement is the result of long hours, spirited discussions, and difficult decisions by Political Council members Oerd Bylykbashi, Damian Gjiknuri, Rudina Hajdari, and Petrit Vasili. All parties were required to make concessions so that the Albanian people could gain new guarantees such as electronic identification of voters, which protects the integrity of the ballot box. It also takes steps to depoliticize election administration in Albania, ensuring more transparency and increased independence of poll workers. Some depoliticization measures will take immediate effect, with additional measures to take effect shortly thereafter.  Finally, this agreement should give Albanians more confidence in the oversight of disputes through the inclusion of vetted judges. This important milestone was reached because Albania’s leaders put their differences aside and worked to deliver a tangible result to the Albanian people. We commend Prime Minster Rama and Democratic Party Chair Basha for their leadership. We appreciate the important voice of President Meta, who encouraged all sides to reach consensus. Their leadership, along with that of Speaker Ruci, will be important as the agreed reform is adopted by Parliament and implemented. The United States will continue to strongly support these efforts. We will continue to strongly support Albania’s aspiration to be a full member of the European family.