Albania: parliament creates committee to make an amendment to electoral law

The 18-member committee will consider the necessary legal amendments over the next three months based on the recommendations of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitored last year's general election.

Earlier this week, President Alfred Moisiu expressed concern that the country's political parties would not complete electoral reform in time for the local government polls, expected later this year or early next year.

A special parliamentary commission was created in January to improve the electoral process, but it has not functioned at all since then, the AP reports.

The OSCE and other international organizations have urged the country's legislative body to make electoral reform a priority in its efforts to obtain membership in NATO and the European Union.

Albania's parliamentary elections in 2005, won by a coalition led by Prime Minister Sali Berisha's Democratic Party, complied only partially with international standards, according to a report from the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, which led the main international monitoring mission.

Problems include ensuring lower-level voting officials respect the law and do not give priority to their party's interests, and the procedures for drawing up the list of voters.