“The electoral code says that list of donors above 100,000 lek (€800) should be always public, which means that parties should publish them… preferably online,” says Aranita Brahaj, project coordinator at Open Data Albania.
Brahaj noted that even freedom of information requests filed with Albania’s main political parties had yielded no results, although they are obliged to publish lists of companies, organizations and individuals that finance them before polling day.
“By law, the donors should be filtered in order to avoid a possible conflict of interest,” Brahaj said.
“They are the hidden face of political parties and voters have the right to be informed who is financing the subject they are voting for,” she added.
Albania has a long history of elections that do not meet international standards and end in political disputes. The June 23 general election is seen as a key test for the country’s already battered aspirations for EU membership.
A study by Open Data Albania of financial reports filed with the Central Electoral Commission, CEC, reveals that in the 2011 local elections parties did not honour the electoral code rules on party finances.
The whole campaign officially cost 364,172 lek (€2.5 million), with the ruling Democrats being the largest spenders, followed by the opposition Socialist Party.
“In past elections political parties took donations larger than 100,000 lek in cash and not through their listed bank accounts as required by law,” Brahaj noted.