2017 Final Monitoring Report of the Albanian Assembly Elections
November 17, 2017
The Final Monitoring Report of the Albanian Assembly Elections is a summary of findings, analysis, and assessment of the June 25, 2017, Albanian elections made by the Coalition of Domestic Observers (CDO), an Albanian alliance of nongovernmental, nonpartisan prodemocracy organizations. With support from USAID, the CDO partnered with Democracy International to undertake a citizen observation mission for the Albanian assembly elections, which led to the findings and recommendations in this report. The report covers the period from November 2016 to July 2017, when the final results were announced.
In preparation for the monitoring and vote counting process, the Steering Committee of the CDO, in collaboration with 34 civil society organizations throughout the country, accredited and trained approximately 1,900 observers on the specifics of the electoral process and on utilizing technology to report their findings. Seventy-three long-term observers closely followed political and institutional developments and reviewed the complaints and appeals process in both levels of the election administration. Approximately 1,500 of the nonpartisan observers collected voting data to detect and deter fraud, and monitored the vote count process around the country.
The coalition tracked compliance and accountability by applying statistically based observation (SBO) methodology, which combines quantitative and qualitative assessment techniques to conduct a rapid, systematic, and comprehensive evaluation. To collect the SBO findings, CDO used Ona in conjunction with Open Data Kit Collect, a free, open-source smartphone data-collection application. Approximately 20 percent of CDO observers submitted reports, photos, and GPS coordinates from sample polling stations using the ODK Collect app, as part of a successful pilot test exercise. This use of free, open-source, and low-cost software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology improved the efficiency of the SBO mission.
The CDO stated that the Assembly elections were generally credible and peaceful, although still demonstrating traits of a democracy in transition. While the electoral process provided an opportunity for citizens to vote and had a low number of complaints from the voters, the election still displayed a lack of trust in the efficiency and integrity of the democratic experience. A climate of political tension shrouded the entire electoral process and worsened concerns about transparency and compliance.
Through its assessment of the election, the CDO offers some important recommendations in the Final Monitoring Report. The CDO recommends that Albania improve and reform the legal framework in an in-depth manner, through inclusive dialogue and drawing on past electoral experiences to improve transparency and strengthen the institutional independence of the Central Election Commission. To remove the excessive influence from political parties over the electoral process, the CDO recommends depoliticizing election zone commissions, among other proposals. Most significant, the CDO argues that the overall spirit of reform must guarantee the major aspirations of vote equality as well as citizens’ rights and freedom.