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Democratic Developments in Albania Hero

Albania’s 2005 Parliamentary Elections: How Free and Fair Will They Be?

Moderator

Robert Hand

Staff Advisor

Witnesses

Nikolai Vulchanov

Deputy of Election Department, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights,

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europ

Dickson Bailey

Project Director for Albania

International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Jennifer Butz

Resident Director for Albania

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs

Nesti Gjeluci

Assistant Program Officer

International Republican Institute

Robert Hand reviewed Albania’s preparatory efforts and the prospects for free and fair parliamentary elections scheduled for the summer of 2005, raising the question of possible corruption during the election process. Hand examined Albania’s growth, with support from the international community, and its growing integration into European and broader Western institutions.

Witnesses from various backgrounds – the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems – drew on their extensive experiences with Albania and Eastern Europe’s transition from communism to democracy to discuss the likelihood for free and fair elections in 2005.  One of the major issues discussed was the novelty of democratic elections in Albania, which was evident in the lack of trust between key political players and in the general confusion of constituent mapping and vote counting.

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