On April 25, voters in Albania went to the polls to elect members of parliament for the 2021-2025 term. According to preliminary results, Prime Minister Edi Rama’s Socialist Party (SP) earned 74 of 140 seats in parliament securing an unprecedented third consecutive term. With SP in majority, there will be ten parties represented in the new parliament with the Democractic Party-led coalition earning 59 seats, the Socialist Movement for Integration earning four seats, and the Social Democratic Party earning three seats. At the time of this writing, it is anticipated that all parties will join the new parliament slated for convocation in September at the end of the current term.
The pre-election environment was marked by partisan acts of localized violence, including one homicide. Allegations of vote-buying and voter intimidation, including SP’s alleged misuse of public resources and personal data for electoral purposes, punctuated a politically tense atmosphere in the run-up to the election. In addition, a relatively large proportion of five percent of ballots cast were recorded as invalid, as compared to rates below two percent in the 2013 and 2017 elections. In light of this, essential to the completion of the election process will be the capacity of SPAK to investigate allegations of misconduct swiftly and fully, prosecuting perpetrators accordingly.
As part of its long-term democracy programming in Albania, NDI supported institutional, civic and media actors in this election cycle, including the Central Election Commission to bolster its political finance oversight institutional capacity and civil society to monitor electoral misconduct and implement voter education and awareness campaigns.