TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania’s president has set April 25 as the date for the country’s next parliamentary election, a key condition for starting negotiations to join the European Union.
President Ilir Meta on Sunday announced the date to elect 140 new lawmakers following talks with the political parties earlier this week and constitutional amendments earlier this year aimed at holding better elections. All seats in parliament will be up for grabs in the election.
Post-communist Albania’s elections have always been contested and marred by irregularities, including vote-buying and the manipulation of ballot counts.
In July, lawmakers passed constitutional amendments to hold elections with open lists of candidates, pre-formed party coalitions and voters who are electronically identified. The moves seek to depoliticize Albania’s national electoral commission and follow other recommendations from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which has monitored the country’s elections.
The amendments were passed after mediation by the U.S., the EU and the U.K. helped Albania’s political parties come to an agreement.
Albania’s parliament is now dominated by the left-wing Socialist Party, which is expected to win the next election.