Press Release on the Opening of Voting Centers - 21 June 2015

Tirana, June 21, 10:00 - The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections and Sustainable Democracy (the Coalition) presented the findings of the observation of opening procedure of the voting reflecting the situation in all Voting Centers in the country.

CFFESD deployed 1000 impartial stationary observers to a random and representative sample for the country nationwide as well as for the municipalities of Tirana, Shkoder, Durres and Himare. Such methodology allows the Coalition to extrapolate their observation findings to the entire country as well as the four mentioned municipalities. CFFESD's qualitative data are reliable with a 95 % confidence interval, within margin of error +/- 4 % nationwide.

Based on information received from the Coalition's non-partisan observers, the opening of the voting centers at the national level largely proceeded orderly with the exception of some delays and a few procedural problems.

"According to CFFESD data, slightly over 60% (61.8 %) of Voting Centers throughout the country opened on time. However, it seemed like commissioners were impatient to start the process and in nearly a quarter of the country, voting centers were opened before 7.00 am. About 15 % voting center nationwide opened late." – said Mirela Arqimandriti, CFFESD team leader.

"CFFESD finds very concerning that in about 10 % of Voting Centers in Albania, not all VC
members were present at the opening" – added Arqimandriti.

The Coalition stated that voting procedures were largely respected in voting centers nationwide. Out of the violations noted so far, the most concerning was the failure of commissioners in 17 % of voting centers to distribute to party observers copies of seal logs. This will obstruct the ability of party observers to verify security seals later, in the counting and appeals process.

Arqimandriti highlighted that rights of observers were largely respected and that in 99 % CFFESD observers were able to observe the election process unobstructed with few isolated obstructions noted. The CFFESD observer in VC 19781 in Tirana our observer has reported difficulties in receiving relevant data from the commission. CFFESD calls on election administrators to encourage commissioners to give access to observers to fully exercise their observation rights.

Coalition observers have so far not observed any serious violations that could influence election results. The CFFESD team is currently verifying four allegations and will inform the public accordingly.
The Coalition highlighted low representation of women in voting center commissions. "In 36
% of the Voting Centers nationwide, there are no female members in the Voting Center Commission and in only 15.2 % of the Voting Centers a woman is chairing the commission" – said Arqimandriti.

Unfortunately, 55 % of the voting centers nationwide were assessed by the Coalition's observers as not physically accessible to disabled voters. As a result, many voters with disabilities will not be able to vote independently and in secret. The Coalition also noted that, in 55 % of voting centers nationwide, it was not possible for visually impaired voters to exercise their voting right independently and in secrecy due to the lack of braille ballots, which are introduced for the first time in these elections.

The Coalition will report on turnout and voting process developments for the first part of the Election Day, at 17.00 hrs at Rogner Hotel. CFFESD will not make an assessment of the entire process until it's complete but will continue to provide information on its website about ongoing developments and will make a preliminary report on Monday at 9:30 focusing on the Election Day.

To receive updates on latest developments, please follow the Coalition at:

Facebook: Koalicioni për Zgjedhje të Lira e të Ndershme
Twitter: KZLN_CFFE_Albania

For more information, please contact:
Mirela Arqimandriti, Election Observation Team Leader
Erjona Mulellari, Executive Director, CFFESD
Dhimitër Gjodede, Long Term Observers Coordinator
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Cell: 068 20 59 301

The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections and Sustainable Democracy (CFFESD) is an independent, non-partisan organization to promote civic participation in elections and in securing sustainable democracy. CFFESD focuses on issues that influence the upholding of human rights, gender equality and the rights of people with disabilities. CFFESD as of June 6,
2015 consists of 30 partner organizations and hundreds of Albanian citizens who volunteer
their time to CFFESD's efforts for the Local Elections of June 21, 2015.This project on local election observation is supported by Assist Impact through funding provided by USAID and with the technical assistance from the National Democratic Institute (NDI).