The current Albanian Criminal Code contains eight articles which provide for crimes or criminal infractions affecting elections. At the same time, the Electoral Code, in two articles, defines as punishable such acts as voting more than once or abandonment of duty by members of election commissions. The legal framework for the regulation of acts that endanger voting rights and fairness in an electoral process lies with article forty-five of the Constitution. This article stipulates the right of citizens to elect or to be elected on the basis of a democratic system. In total, in the last six years there have been three general or administrative electoral processes. According to official statistics of the judiciary, in these three processes, also including by- elections, seventy five cases were prosecuted in total for electoral crimes and criminal offences and ninety-six offenders were convicted with a final court decision. Penalties consisted mainly of fines, which in most cases were paid by political parties on behalf of commissioners appointed by them. Open Data Albania research shows that administrative elections were marked by more crimes than general elections. Thus, in 2007 the local government electoral process was accompanied by fifty-five criminal proceedings under the Electoral Code versus only five criminal proceedings after the general elections of 2005.
What is an electoral crime? The volume and dynamics of criminal proceedings for cases related to the electoral process are an indicator of the quality and safeguards of the principles of political freedom in a country. On the other hand, statistics on criminal cases initiated for actions related to abuse of duty in electoral administration show how fair and reliable an electoral process is.
Crimes and criminal infractions are the actions provided in the following articles of the criminal code: Article 325 - Preventing electoral subjects from election to representative bodies; Article 326 - Falsifying documents and election results; Article 327 - Violating the secrecy of voting; Article 328 - Remuneration and promises; Article 329 Threatening a voter; Article 330 Threatening a candidate; Article 331 - Violation of election rights; Article 332 - Abuse of military authority. Criminal proceedings are also initiated under the Electoral Code for actions, such as voting more than once or abandonment of duty by members of election commissions. This action constitutes the most frequent case for proceedings and an expected and forewarned action for the eighth of May.
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Contributer: Aranita Brahaj
Translated by: Alba Jorganxhi MA
Edited by: Kathleen Imholz