Jonathan Stonestreet, the head of the OSCE-ODIHR Observing Mission for May 8th elections had promised to discuss the issue of the EU standards since May 10th.
In a press conference, two days after the Elections Day, Stonestreet
declared that the elections were competitive and transparent, although
OSCE would discuss the standard issue later.
What the ambassador said on May 10th:
“The local government elections were competitive and transparent, but
took place in an environment of high polarization and mistrust between
parties in government and opposition. There were developments that
showed a democratic progress of the elections in Albania, but there are
many issues that remain to be treated by the authorities. I know that
you want from me to give different epithets to these elections, maybe
positive ones, but I am not in position to do such a thing”.
Three months later, when the final report was published, Mr. Stonestreet
doesn’t mention the world “standard” anywere in the report, regardless
Before the elections, Brussels’ declarations for fulfilling EU standards
with these elections were repeated several times as a necessity, and
one of EU priorities for Albania was to guarantee elections in full
accordance with EU and international standards.
But the 36 pages long report doesn’t give a straightforward opinion if
the elections fulfilled the EU standards completely, partially or not at
The daily “MAPO” gives an answer to this question through an interview with the spokesperson of ODIHR, Thomas Rymer.
To the question why the word “standard” is not mentioned in this report,
and if we can say that these elections have fulfilled the standards,
Rymer gave this answer.
“If the elections fulfilled the standards, the report clearly specifies
the parts where these standards were fulfilled, and also the parts where
the standards were not fulfilled. The report underlines that both
political parties did not complete their duties with responsibility and
that the controversial decision taken by the Central Election Commission
(CEC), regarding the result for the Mayor of Tirana, undermined the
trust that CEC was acting as an impartial and independent institution.
The report also confirms that the pluralism and diversity of media
offered to the electors the possibility of chosing from a great number
of alternatives and that the vote counting process was generally
Despite the explanation given by the spokesperson for ODIHR, it is still
unclear why the report doesn’t give an evaluation for the elections,
leaving room to different interpretations that serve to both parties’