The Albanian Institute of Science (AIS), a non-governmental organization advocating transparency, good governance, and accountability, is engaged in opening data regarding electoral expenditures and financing. In addition to publishing data from the Financial Tables of Election Subjects in an Open Data format, AIS, through its Electoral Room for Electoral Reform, Money Government and Politics and Za’Lart – Make Elections Count programs, has also identified details and problems related with the electoral financing of the latest campaigns.
On 14 May 2014, AIS presented and proposed some proposals for amendments to the Albanian Electoral Law at a Technical Table on Political Party Financing, a conference organized by the Central Election Commission and supported by the OSCE Presence in Albania. The proposals address electoral campaign financing. Some of the main proposals presented at the conference and submitted in writing by AIS/Open Data Albania included:
- Introduction of an obligation on donors to declare every donation, and not only those exceeding 10 thousand Albanian lekë. The law should also require every donation to be done only by bank transactions instead of cash. Article 90, point 2 of the Electoral Code. For more details, see the draft version with Recommendations.
- More detailed provisions on control and prevention of donors’ conflicts of interest, introducing not only pre-election, but also post-election inspection periods. Article 89 of the Electoral Code. For more details, see the draft version with Recommendations.
In its latest report for the Assembly (April 2016), the Central Election Commission included a document on Recommendations for Potential Improvements of the Electoral Code 2016. The draft is intended for the Assembly and its Electoral Reform Committee, and it includes earlier proposals made by AIS Program Open Data Albania at a round table organized in September 2014 on the Registration and Control of Donors’ Conflicts of Interest. The proposals are integrated in the document section IX. Recommendations for Political Party Financing during Electoral Campaigns and regular calendar years, pages 22 and 23, points 7 and 9 of the Recommendations.
AIS, an organization that promotes Open Data Albania, thanks the Central Election Commission for institutionalizing the proposals coming from the civil society, and for the seriousness with which recommendations on electoral financing were drafted in this document addressed to the Assembly. In addition, AIS will continue to also lobby as a member of the Election Situation Room Initiative for a quality electoral law and reform for regulating the Financing of Electoral Subjects and Auditing of Electoral Campaigns.
Another effort made by AIS for contributing to fair rules of electoral financing is the court process initiated by AIS against the three largest political parties, i.e. Democratic Party, Socialist Party, and the Socialist Movement for Integration for their failure to provide real-time information about he lists and names of their electoral campaign donors, waiting for two months for Tirana Administrative Court of Appeal to set a date for the court hearing.