Integrity and trust in elections in Albania: Time for a breakthrough in political finance transparency
Join us for a round table discussion on 'Integrity and trust in elections in Albania: Time for a breakthrough in political finance transparency', on Wednesday, 22 June 2022, 10:00 – 13:00 CEST, at Rogner Hotel, Antigonea I conference room, Tirana, Albania. This is a hybrid event in English and Albanian with simultaneous translation, followed by a lunch reception.
As a necessary component of any democracy, money enables political participation, campaigning and representation. However, if not effectively regulated and transparent, it can undermine the integrity of political processes and institutions and jeopardize the quality of democracy.
Albania has come a long way in improving its legislative framework on political and campaign finance at different rounds of electoral reform. However, the role of money in politics remains an entry point for undue influence. In addition, the shift of electoral campaigns to the online world has made monitoring electoral campaign spending an even greater challenge.
In recent years, Albania has embraced the digitalization of services at a large scale as a means to promote efficiency, integrity and accountability of institutions. ICT instruments also form an opportunity to step up transparency of political finance in ways that best benefit media, civil society and the public at large.
Ahead of the local government elections of spring 2023, and against the background of electoral reform in parliament, this round table will gather the Central Elections Commission, political actors, civil society, and experts to a discussion about necessary steps to seize this opportunity.
09:30 – 10:00 Registration of participants
Session I: Welcome remarks: Political Finance Transparency Under the Optics of EU Accession
Moderator: Blerta Hoxha, Programme Officer- Western Balkans, International IDEA
10:05 – 10:10
Dr Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary-General of International IDEA (online) (TBC)
10:10 – 10:15
Tuija Brax, Director of the Rule of Law Centre, University of Helsinki, Finland
10:15 – 10:25
Ilirjan Celibashi, State Election Commissioner, Central Elections Commission
10:25 – 10:35
Alexis Hupin, Chargé d'Affaires, Delegation of the European Union to Albania
Session II: Commitment to Political Finance Transparency Through Electoral Reform
Moderator: Tuija Brax, Director of the Rule of Law Centre, University of Helsinki, Finland
10:40 – 10:50
Enkelejd Alibeaj, Co-Chair of the ad hoc Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform, Democratic Party (DP)
10:50 – 11:00 Eridian Salianji, Secretary for Legal and Elections Affairs Socialist Party (SP)
11:00 – 11:10
Petrit Vasili, Member of the ad hoc Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform, Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI)
11:10 – 11:30 Q&A session
Session III: Civil Society as a Driver of Political Finance Transparency in Albania
Moderator: Yukihiko Hamada, Programme Manager of the Money in Politics Programme, International IDEA
11:35 – 11: 45
Afrim Krasniqi, Executive Director, Institute for Political Studies
11:45 – 11:55
Edlira Cepani, National Coordinator, Equality in Decision Making Women’s Network
11:55 – 12:05
Besar Likmeta, Editor in Chief, Reporter.al – Balkan Investigative Reporting Network
12:05 – 12:35 Q&A session
12:35 – 12:45 Closing remarks – Ilirjan Celibashi, State Election Commissioner
& Sam van der Staak, Head of Regional Europe Programme, International IDEA
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch reception
International IDEA and the Rule of Law Centre at the University of Helsinki, Finland, in cooperation with the Central Elections Commission, have organized this discussion as a launch for the project 'Integrity and Trust in Elections in Albania: Fostering Political Finance Transparency and the Safe Use of Information and Communication Technologies"' co-implemented by International IDEA and the Rule of Law Centre.
About the project
The project "Integrity and Trust in Elections in Albania: Fostering Political Finance Transparency and the Safe Use of Information and Communication Technologies' is co-implemented by International IDEA and the Rule of Law Centre at the University of Helsinki, Finland during 2022 – 2023. It seeks to assist the Albanian Election Management Body (EMB), legislators, political parties, civil society and media to strengthen the integrity and public trust in electoral processes, and in particular to: support the fight against corruption in Albania by improving political finance transparency; mitigate potential threats stemming with the use of technology in elections by strengthening awareness, capacities and institutional coordination. The project is composed of three pillars of support:
Pillar I seeks to assist the Central Elections Commission (CEC) in exploring best practices to develop an online political finance disclosure system and to support political parties, civil and media society to best utilize such system.
Pillar II focuses on interagency coordination with regard to the safe use of ICT in elections, notably work with CEC, the parliament, the Interior Ministry, the Albanian Agency for Information Society, the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection, and the Audiovisual Media Agency. The Institute will assist Albanian institutions in strengthening interagency coordination based on successful models of peers as a means to feed informed discussions among actors playing a role in the conduct of elections. Discussions on interagency coordination in the safe use of ICT in elections will also be held at a regional level.
Pillar III is situated at the intersection between political finance transparency and challenges with the growing use of ICT in elections, where the Institute will assist local actors with recommendations to regulate different aspects of online campaigning and raise capacities to monitor, report and advocate for the regulation of this sector.