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Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
June 24, 2009


Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman Hastings


to Monitor Albanian Elections



WASHINGTON-- Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), will participate in an election observation mission to Albania June 26-29.



Albanian parliamentary elections are set for June 28. It will be the first election to require voters to show a new voter ID card or passport to cast their ballot. Preliminary monitoring by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) shows challenges remain for the country to pull off a free and fair election by international standards.  There have been allegations that applications for ID cards have been filled more quickly for supporters of the ruling Democratic party.



“Coming from Florida, I know all too well about voters being disenfranchised on Election Day,” Co-Chairman Hastings said. “Having held a briefing about this upcoming election and heard concerns about whether registered voters will in fact receive their ID cards in time for Election Day, I sincerely hope Albania’s ID card experiment does not cost voters their voice stolen at the voting booths.”



Hastings will be the Deputy Head of the Observation Mission. Austrian MP Wolfgang Grossruck will lead the mission as Special Coordinator.



“Election issues continue to exist and to mar Albania’s democratic credentials,” Hastings said.  “Even if a last-minute rush to correct things in Albania succeeds, it will only repeat a disturbing pattern from previous elections of not taking action quickly enough to make a real difference in the electoral system for the next, regularly scheduled election.”


Media Contact: Neil Simon
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