The voter education, information and awareness program prepared and carried out by the CEC is considered by KRIIK to be of major importance for the challenges faced by the electoral process in Albania and the consequences that negative phenomena bring to the rights and freedoms of citizens observed starting first from the improper implementation of the law.
It is widely accepted that the current legal regulatory framework of all stages of the process can provide good standards in the implementation of the electoral process and ensure the integrity of the elections.
Meanwhile, the lack of proper implementation of the law, the institutional failure to address violations, the lack of political will for the proper implementation of the law and the fulfillment of standards, or the predominance of the political or individual will over the right one, for the application of the law in a fair and equal manner and impartial, the continuation of impunity of political entities and persons related to them, etc., are a series of negative phenomena that strongly infringe on the political rights and freedoms of citizens, including their right to self-determination and free vote.
This findings of KRIIK and of ODIHR, need to be addressed first through an intensive campaign of information, awareness, education or even training (for some categories charged with duties by law), so that citizens are informed, made aware and encouraged to make proper use of the available system and mechanisms, denouncing not just direct violations at their expense, but any violation that negatively affects standards and the legal framework, regardless of which individual/official/political actor is the perpetrator .
A system, no matter how successful it is from the point of view of provisions, harmonization, and legal functionality, cannot function without the active participation of the citizen.
In this perspective, we consider that the design of the entire Voter Education, Information and Awareness Program should detach itself from the tradition of a standard, general, and cursory program, as was the case previously, and reflect the proactive approach that should have the CEC in relation to all of the above, in implementation of the recommendations of OSCE/ODIHR, of domestic observers (including KRIIK) or even of important international institutions and partners.
In our opinion the Program should reflect this proactive approach, being detailed in raising awareness and informing citizens about any significant provision of the legal and regulatory framework, including the legal sub-acts of the CEC itself, without focusing only on the provisions of the Criminal Code.
The program must contain and proactively address the findings from the CEC’s own analysis, the phenomena and violations observed from the administrative investigation carried out by it in function of the indications, denunciations or complaints made, or even the findings from the domestic and international observers, or even flagrant cases denounced by the media and journalists.
On the other hand, informing citizens about reporting mechanisms and encouraging citizens and any grouping to address violations, including the competences and roles of relevant institutions, should take place in all elements of the information program.
The program should foresee differentiation and evidence of some special elements, this in relation to the target, that is, the category of citizens to whom it is addressed, the role and duties they may have in the process.
A well-thought-out and differentiated approach depending on the target categories of the campaign should also be done on geographic distribution, age categories (in the case of spots on social networks), ethnic or ethnocultural affiliation, etc.
Also, it is estimated that it would be necessary to draw up a more complete Program, based on all of the above, including an action plan with the relevant (or approximate) costs, which would be open for cooperation or even financing from third actors according to the needs and priorities of the latter as well, except for the part that the CEC itself supports financially. This, in our opinion, would help and channel in the right direction also possible initiatives of third actors focused on informing, awareness or educating citizens or could even encourage their enterprise.
Regarding the content itself of the parts of the program, there are a number of suggestions in detail by KRIIK, but all of which in the typology relate to all of the above.