Speech of the Chair of the CEC, Mr. Klement Zguri in ,”Training of Trainers, financial reporting by candidates for mayoral units of the local government for the election campaign 2019″.

First of all, I wish you welcome, dear participants,

The Central Elections Commission is currently in its peak of preparations for the elections process and anyone can think that meetings, workshops of seminars like this shift our focus, distract us or waste our time. The opposite is true. Such meetings are a pre-condition that the election work can progress well, that the process is well-administered, the race is fair and that elections standards are improved and raised.

Therefore, first of all I would like to congratulate you for your participation and commitment. I would also like to thank the Democratic Institute and British Embassy in Tirana that help us and assist us in organizing such events.

The issue of political party funding is a sensitive one and now that we are on the eve of election campaign, there will be a greater attention and for this reason we need to work even harder.

The transparency of the party funding is a requirement in order to hold a fair and equal contest, while the lack of transparency is an invitation to unbalance the campaign, lead the actors towards illegal electoral tactics, vote buying, undermining  the election administration, towards results manipulation.

Lack of transparency in funding and expenses of political parties implies corruption in funding. The corruption in funding of political parties is one of the critical issues of today’s democracies. 

Abuses in funding means debasing of the political parties, of their leadership and therefore,  of tomorrow’s governance. 

In order to reduce this phenomenon, the controlling and monitoring before, during and after the election campaign, is important.

Of course, political will is very important for the transparency, but political parties in our countries continue to be out of the public eye and hermetic in terms of transparency and public accountability.

The only information available to the public is the one provided by the Central Elections Commission. In this situation, the civil society and the media should play the role of the social auditor and not stay indifferent when it comes to monitoring the political funding.

The legislative changes in 2017 have improved the transparency in the funding of political parties, but yet not a complete transparency.

The CEC has intensively worked with the best international experts to study the best international practices, the right methodology that could be suitable to be applied in our country. After an intensive work with NDI experts, the Central Elections Commission was able to complete the funding legal package, by adopting three important by -laws:

–  One by law, “On the  procedure of control and verification of funding and expenses of political parties and the election campaign”

–  One “On adoption of standardized formats of the audit report benefited and spent by political parties during the calendar year, for the election campaign and monitoring report of election campaign:

–   and “On some additions and amendments to the Instruction no.1, dated 31.05.2017 “On the use of propaganda materials and the places for posting them during the election campaign”.   

These three by-laws, which will be introduced to you, serve to the aim to increase the financial transparency of the campaigns. As such, they deserve special importance, as they representative a genuine part of reforms at a time when politics is overwhelmed by the impasse and stagnation. 

In this election process, it is not only the political parties that will report on the campaign funding but also the candidates for mayors. This means a greater transparency, less informality, more equality and fairness in the race. 

Therefore, today’s training is an added value to this huge work that is done in this aspect.  

The task undertaken by you is a very important one as you will be training the candidates and finance officers of the political parties on the legal framework on funding and the correct way of financial reporting.

Because of your work, the candidates for mayor will better understand the legal obligations related to the financial reporting and will enhance their capacity in order to ensure and efficient application of the CEC by-laws and the requirements of reporting, based on the new templates approved by the Commission. 

I am confident that these elections will mark an improvement in the field of financial transparency, because I believe greatly in your commitment, in the new legal framework, the monitoring as an instrument and the awareness of actors.

I am closing my speech by wishing you a successful training and thanking once again Mrs. Kadoviç, Mrs. Klein and the British Embassy for their contribution and support!