“How to steal elections, Albanian style.” This is not the title of a
manual for stealing elections, but a cable of the US Embassy that was
published today on Wikileaks, showing all misdeeds of 1996.
“The manipulated elections of 1996 show the lowest point for the Albanian elections, filled with irregularities, violence, artificially filled ballot boxes, police intimidation against opposition and an incompetent administration of the process. These elections were destructive and brought the country to collapse and civil war one year later”.
This is how the US Embassy describes the situation of the elections on that year, a manipulation behind which stood Sali Berisha, then President of the country from the Democratic Party, and the Interior Minister of the time, now Deputy Minister, Ferdinand Poni.
“The fact that today Berisha is the head of the government and Pony the director of the Identity Cards project has concerned the Socialist Party that the same situation will be repeated again”.
The US embassy sends a detailed report to the US State Department 16 days before the General Elections of 28 June 2009, describing all the manipulations that were used in Albania, such as sending ballots with pizza boxes, while the security cameras were switched off during the manipulation.
The cable also describes the concern of the Socialist Party for equipping DP militants with identity cards which are produced with the names of emigrants outside Albania. These identity cards have the picture of the militant, but the generalities of someone else.
“You see, I voted for DP for not being fired”, is the sub-title of this cable that describes the intimidation of the state administration for participating in DP electoral meetings, where they are obliged to be photographed for not being fired. The US embassy considers this a serious threat for losing the job.
The conclusive comment of this cable, written by Ambassador Withers, says that the potential for having other manipulations in these elections is real, taking in consideration the past electoral developments and the current political parties.
“The expectancy of these elections remains high for Prime Minister Berisha, especially after the constant voices that members of the Berisha familly are part of the Gerdeci scandal”, the cable concludes.