PRESS RELEASE – On January 16, 2023, the Coalition for Reforms, Integration and Consolidated Institutions (KRIIK) published the PUBLIC STANCE “Avoiding abuse of state resources as well as correct and impartial behavior of the public administration employees, essential for ensuring the intact will of the citizen in exercising the right to vote”.
While on January 13, a series of legal obligations began for institutions, that aim to prevent the use of state resources for electoral advantage, KRIIK notes that the use of state resources for electoral advantage and the financing of electoral subjects were two of the most problematic issues identified in the processes previous election, which were agreed to be addressed in the Electoral Code on the basis of the Political Agreement of June 5, 2020. However, the application of the amended legal provisions in the 2021 Assembly Elections showed their insufficiency to prevent the phenomenon. Legal obligations were massively ignored in their spirit, while even the implementation of the letter of the law limped markedly, setting negative precedents for the following processes, which was also seen in the partial elections of March 6, 2022.
In the situation where, until now, there was no legal reform and no institutional reflection in the approach of the majority as far as it has been reported and denounced and started from the established precedents and the steps started in the meantime, through this Public Stance, KRIIK expresses concern that the tendency to use state resources for electoral purposes will continue and be carried even further, bringing incalculable damage to the country and the democratic state-forming process.
KRIIK remarks that the government’s recent decision-making is clearly electoral in nature, regardless of the usefulness and necessity for Albanian citizens. These measures are an obligation of the state towards the well-being of its citizens, so they must be planned, processed and presented to the public as such by the members of the government and the leadership of the majority as a whole.
To address this major issue, KRIIK makes several public appeals asking:
– that the Central Election Commission, as a trilateral institution, be guided by the spirit of the law and apply it only in the best and general interest of the citizens, consider and substantively evaluate each denunciation presented and taking the burden of proof itself as an institution and not leaving it to the whistleblower.
– Senior officials of the majority governing that it is imperative that they restrain themselves and show high prudence, not using the official office for electoral advantage, in the spirit of separating the party from the state, according to the principles of The Copenhagen Document.
– All public administration employees at all levels, regardless of whether they have civil servant status or not, to demonstrate legality and impartiality, as well as not to allow the official position to be used or misused for electoral purposes, in any form.
A state administration freed from political bias and truly independent is a condition for building and consolidating a correct and professional administration, thus undoing the system of political patronage set up and employed illegally in the ranks of the public administration. Furthermore, as this administration might be the basis for the supply of human resources of the independent electoral administration after the year 2025 and beyond, as provided for in the Political Agreement of June 5, 2020.
At the end of the Public Stance, in the conditions of the insufficiency of the current legal framework to completely prevent the misuse of the administration for electoral advantage, as well as the urgent need for the expression of a clear political will to undo previous negative practices, KRIIK appeals to the Prime Minister of Albania H.E. Mr. Edi Rama, at the same time leader of the majority and Chairman of the Socialist Party to promote and adopt a Decision of the Council of Ministers which should fill in the missing elements of the current legal regulatory framework and provide for the undertaking of concrete steps for the complete prevention of this phenomenon, including, among others, the limitation of the issuance of by-laws that can be perceived as being used for electoral purposes for the period up to on election day, as well as the prohibition of posts of an electoral nature in the media and social networks by public administration employees, both the sharing of the posts and their consent.
In conclusion, KRIIK calls on all state institutions to take the necessary measures and to set up really functional mechanisms to prevent the misuse of state resources for electoral advantage throughout this period, until the day of the elections, including but not limited to the Civil Service Oversight Commissioner.
Also, KRIIK appeals to citizens, civil society actors, including journalists and the media to denounce and make public any violations observed by investing the mechanisms that the legal framework has made available in the Central Election Commission or even other institutional mechanisms.
You can find the full document as text below or you can download it in .pdf format HERE.
Tirana, on January 16, 2023!