Letter of the opposition coalition
on the recent media investigations
relating to the unlawful and disturbing civil registration of voters
by SP party representatives.
Tirana, 20 march 2021
The opposition coalition expresses its deepest apprehension on the recent revelations, made public by TV investigative programme “Boom”, relating to the voters civil registration by SP party representatives within the premises of their electoral offices.
We strongly condemn the criminal act of registering new voters through informal, unlawful and corrupt procedures and call upon the Special Prosecution Office and the Albanian justice authorities to start immediately an investigation on this worrisome revelation. We also urge the international community in Albania to increase the pressure over Edi Rama’s government to refrain from such practices, but also vote from buying/intimidation and the involvement of civil servants in the SP electoral campaign.
The investigation aired by OraNews and its “Boom” investigative programme focuses on one of the largest and most dense boroughs of Tirana, namely Yzberisht, corresponding to the administrative unit no. 14. The recordings show SP representatives asking citizens to register their new resident address, handling ID and other personal documents, including falsified ones, all within the premises of their SP electoral office.
The registration of a new resident address implies for the citizens also their transfer to a new voting centre.
The law clearly prohibits such practices.
The media investigation appears to show that there are close to 14.000 individuals that have changed their resident address from November 2020 up to March 5th, 2021 in the administrative unit no. 14 alone. The new total number of inhabitants residing in this unit has increased as a result from 8.000 to 22.000. It should be reminded that one electoral mandate in Tirana corresponds approximately to 10.000 votes.
Such large-scale changes, specifically limited in time and in geography, made by SP officials within their electoral offices, clearly pinpoints their objective to manipulate artificially the electoral result in Tirana ahead the April 25th general vote.
According to Law no. 10129, dating 11.5.2009, on “Civil Status”, Albanian citizens have the obligation to self-declare and register their main resident address, and any change of such address. The procedure, according to the law and as a rule, shall be administrated only by public servants working for the Albanian civil registry directorate, and only within the premises of their public offices located in the municipality having the territorial jurisdiction over the declared resident address. In the case of a resident address change, or when an address is not linked anymore with a personal/family use, these changes shall be declared at the Albanian civil registry Directorate public offices.
Any citizen shall complete the registration of the main resident address, its change or any other declaration, within 30 days from the physical change of the resident’s location/address. Article 74/1, letter “ç” of the same law foresaw a fine of up to 10.000 ALL and the refusal of any civil registry service, for any citizen not complying with this deadline when declaring their resident address.
Due to the existence of this fine, numerous citizens did not declare the change of their resident address in the past. Using this as a starting argument – which now appears to have targeted in fact the change of the voting centres – the socialist parliamentary majority voted an amendment of the Law on “Civil Status” that was published on the official gazette on 22.10.2020 (Law 130/2020). The amendment abolished letter “ç” of Article 74/1 and its associated fine when citizens declare their resident changes beyond the 30 days deadline.
The President of the Republic rejected this amendment through the Presidential Decree nr.11812 dating 5.11.2020. Following that, the Parliament voted again on 26.11.2020 to refuse the Presidential decree and re-enact the Amendment.
On the political ground, it should be noted that the initiator of this Amendment was MP Blerina Gjylameti (SP), representing the Yzberisht area, or the Administrative unit 14. This corresponds to the revelations and the territory covered by the “Boom” investigation programme described above.
Using the abolition of the 10.000 ALL fine, the SP electoral office have taken over a highly sensitive process by illegally replacing the public servants & offices of the Albanian civil registry directorate, with the sole objective to increase the number of socialist voters.
The “Boom” investigative programme showed also cases how citizens that were physically inhabitants of another Administrative Unit in Tirana (namely AU no.6), were falsely transferred to AU no.14, by using a false address given the SP local representative, again with the sole objective to increase the socialist votes in the area.
The SP electoral staff and offices have engaged in a highly sensible electoral offence and shall be prosecuted accordingly. This is a blatant example of the large-scale electoral manipulation strategy Edi Rama’s government is currently implementing ahead of the April 25th General Election. The new Justice reform institutions, and in particular the new Electoral bodies created as a result of the recent reshuffle of the Electoral code, shall require the immediate halt of such unlawful practices and condemn the responsible individuals.
On behalf of the “Alliance for change” coalition, we urge the international community in Albania to take note of this situation and exert the maximum pressure so Albania does not fail, again, for the umpteenth occurrence under the Rama rule, to organise a fair and free electoral process.
Democratic Party of Albania
Socialist Movement for Integration
On behalf of
“Alliance for Change” Coalition
“Albania, the winning home” Coalition
For the full “Boom” investigation programme please follow links below :