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Topi: May 8 belongs to citizens, not to militants

08. May 2011. | 08:33 15:58

Source: Emg.rs, Alsat, Balkaninsight

Through a public message, President of the Republic of Albania, Bamir Topi, invited all Albanian citizens to go to the ballot boxes on May 8, for choosing the leaders of the local power.

Voters in volatile Albania cast ballots on Sunday in local elections seen as a major test of the Balkans nation's stability as it seeks to emerge from two years of political paralysis.

Despite a violent run-up to the vote, which will be the first political confrontation between the ruling right and the opposition left since an anti-government demonstration turned deadly in January, the morning was calm.

The vote is being closely monitored by some 5,000 local and international independent observers.

Polling stations will close at 7:00 pm (1700 GMT) and first partial results could be known late Sunday.

Through a public message, President of the Republic of Albania, Bamir Topi, invited all Albanian citizens to go to the ballot boxes on May 8, for choosing the leaders of the local power.

“All Albanian citizens are invited to vote for the new leading organs of the local power. The May 8 elections are moments of responsibility for all institutions that have been assigned to take care of preparations, the normal proceeding and the administration of elections. Honored citizens, I expect the Election Day to have a quiet atmosphere, so the administration of the vote can be correct; this way, CEC, the second-level commissions and the counting groups will strictly implement the law; so the local and foreign observers will carry their duty without any difficulties. I also expect the institutions responsible for providing order and safety, such as the Prosecutor’s Office, the courts and the Electoral College, to be more active and completely professional in fulfilling their legal mission,” said Topi.

The President said that when the country is undergoing a challenge, then all official leaders, institutions and political actors are undergoing a challenge.

“May 8 will not enter our political memory for the quality of political programs or for the winning names, but for the evaluation that is related to their standards and their democratic product. When the country is undergoing a challenge, all we leaders, institutions and political and public actors are undergoing a challenge. The Election Day is the citizens’ day and not the day of political militants,” said Topi.

In his message, the head of the country said that May 8 deserves being a day of democratic normality, a day when citizens enjoy freedom and they use it to mandate the institutions of local governance.

Campaign for May 8, 63 Incidents and 11 Detained

The State Police guaranteed the complete commitment of its structures for the May 8 elections. Vice Director of the General Police Directorate, Mehmet Rrumbullaku, said that they have taken all the necessary measures to guarantee order in the country and in all places where the voting process will be organized.

“In order to fulfill its mission, the State Police has taken all organization and operational measures to provide order and public peace before, during and after the electoral process. This aims at providing citizens a safe environment for exercising their right to vote,” said Rrumbullaku.

On the other hand, Rrumbullaku made a report on the incidents that happened during the campaign, and the measures that were taken by the police. He said that “63 incidents have been signed, which were related to the electoral campaign”.

“During the electoral period, 63 incidents were evidenced, which were directly or indirectly related to the electoral process. From these incidents, 3 cases were evidenced before the electoral campaign began, and 60 of them were evidenced during the electoral campaign. The cases were sent to the Prosecutor’s Office. 44 cases have been solved, and work continues for 19 other cases, three of which are related to explosives, a small injury, the burning of a vehicle, and the damaging of the flags and posters of the electoral subjects,” said Rrumbullaku.

In relation to the incidents, Rrumbullaku said that 11 persons were detained, and he assured that police have a detailed plan of measures for problematic areas.

Topalli meets observers: Votes of May 8, free and civic

Speaker of parliament, Jozefina Topalli met with the delegation of the local electoral observers in the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.

The Speaker of parliament emphasized that the international observers’ mission is very important, and that Albania is interested to have as many observers and witnesses as possible, who will monitor the electoral process.

According to Topalli, the counting system, which was applied for the first time in the last elections, resulted to be one of the most transparent systems. She also noted that these elections and this process will be very transparent and efficient in calculating the results.

The European Parliament’s delegation, headed by Eduard Kukan, reached Tirana on Saturday, May 7. This delegation will monitor for the first time local elections in Albania. On May 8, Kukan and three other Euro-deputies will be in Tirana, Elbasan and Himara to monitor the voting process. During the visit in Albania, this delegation will meet representatives of the country, the government and the opposition.

One of the observers of the European Parliament’s delegation, Greek Deputy and representative of the European Greens, Michail Tremopoulos, said for “AS” that if May 8 elections go well, then Albania will easily take the integration passport to the European Union.

“I understand it that your country is coming out of the long political crisis. For this reason, I say that these elections are politically important. But the most important thing in these local elections should be the programs for the country’s development and the candidates’ integrity. I would like to see democracy strengthen even in your country. If democracy strengthens and if the political life becomes more calm and more opened to all citizens, then I can say that Albania’s integration road to the European Union will be more opened,” said Tremopoulos.

On Monday, it is expected that the EP’s delegation will give preliminary conclusions on its mission for the local elections in Albania. Meanwhile, Albania is experiencing electoral silence, to give the electorate time to think about their vote on Sunday, May 8.


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