U.S. Embassy Statement

The United States has long pressed for Albania’s leaders – inside and outside Parliament – to engage each other in a transparent and inclusive manner on issues of national importance.  This kind of positive engagement produced the June 5 agreement on electoral reform.  We have made clear since then that the June 5 agreement should be honored and that any additional measures should be considered and adopted in similar transparent and inclusive manner using the Political Council.  Today, the ruling party terminated discussions at the Political Council and voted to adopt significant changes to the rules that will govern the April 25 elections.  While it was within Parliament’s competency to adopt these changes, and while these changes are in addition to – not in violation of – the June 5 agreement, it is regrettable that the majority failed to honor its own stated commitment to seek common ground in the Political Council.  Albania is a member of NATO, an aspirant for membership in the European Union, and Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE.  It is incumbent upon Albania’s leaders – beginning with but not limited to those in power – to hold themselves to a higher standard and to ensure the freedom and fairness of the upcoming elections.  We stand with the Albanian people in this expectation.