In the run-up to the June 21, 2015 Local elections, UNDP Albania organized a workshop on electoral dispute resolution targeting the two main authorities that deal with the electoral disputes: The Central Election Commission of Albania (CEC) and the Electoral College (EC). In 2013, UNDP Albania previously held BRIDGE training for the Electoral College of the Court of Appeals. Based on the response to and success of this program, the module was organized again in 2015 before the local elections of June 21.
In Albania, the role of the Electoral College has been critical in recent elections. During the 2013 parliamentary elections, the College was forced to take key decisions, as the required majority in the CEC was not present due to resignations. These decisions included ruling on the results and allocation of mandates.
The 2015 local elections was held in an entirely new and different structure of electoral units, with the recent consolidation of local communities into 61 new municipalities following a Territorial Administrative Reform effort led by the government. This change poses new questions and potential challenges to the electoral process.
In total, 23 participants attended the workshop. In addition to CEC members and the Judges members of the Electoral College, high-level CEC secretariat staff, especially those from the CEC legal department, and some staff attended the workshop from the Tirana Court of Appeals.
The facilitation team for the Electoral Systems workshop comprised a mix of international and national facilitators. The team consisted of Emad Yousef, Alexandra Hoveleaque, Victoria Stewart Jolly and Mirela Bogdani. While the workshop used the Election Dispute Resolution BRIDGE module as a point of departure, the facilitation team decided that the content and methodology would have to be significantly customized to meet the highly specific knowledge requirements of the participants. The Agenda was designed with an operational focus based on issues connected to the upcoming electoral event – the local elections, and referenced extensively to the electoral framework and the Electoral Code.