HomeFact-o-MeterFalseDiaspora Vote: The Socialist Party's Forgotten Promise

Diaspora Vote: The Socialist Party’s Forgotten Promise

The issue of the diaspora vote has come back into focus in Albanian politics following Prime Minister Rama’s tour in Athens. The Socialists claim they are committed to implementing this 12-year-old promise, but political discussions persist on technical matters. Despite the Constitutional Court giving Parliament a year to meet the criteria, no progress has been made. Chief Commissioner Ilirjan Celibashi stated that politics are running out of time to make the necessary legal adjustments to allow diaspora voting in future elections.

Jona Plumbi

A two-hour meeting, an hour-long speech, plenty of dancing and performances, but not a single word about the diaspora vote. This was Prime Minister Edi Rama’s meeting in Athens, marking the beginning of the Socialist Party’s diaspora tour.

Just a day earlier, Socialist Party Secretary-General Blendi Klosi had declared the ‘will of the majority to enable the diaspora vote.’

The Socialist Party’s commitment to the emigrant vote is clear. Thanks to this commitment and the votes of Socialist Party deputies on the Electoral Code, the changes that have already been made are in effect, and the emigrant vote has been endorsed’,stated Blendi Klosi.

Klosi went on to say that ‘it would be very good if the bipartisan commission had functioned to thoroughly discuss this issue and implement the technical conditions under which this vote should be done’.

‘Prime Minister Rama also cited ‘complex technical difficulties’ as problematic, in an interview just before the tour began.

In fact, the Prime Minister shouldn’t have to deal with the diaspora vote,– commented Florian Haçkaj from Diaspora for a Free Albania, recalling that experts from the Socialist Party themselves had proposed solutions for these technical issues. ‘Unfortunately, this majority proposal came just 2 days before the electoral reform commission’s deadline,’ Haçkaj noted.

Proposals regarding the technical aspects of this process have been numerous. Diaspora for a Free Albania, the Official Democratic Party, the ‘Shqipëria bëhet” movement, and even the Socialists themselves have put forward their suggestions. However, what is lacking is seriousness and a genuine commitment to realize the diaspora vote.

Albanian politics, in general, has not been as engaged as it should be for the diaspora vote,’ expressed Haçkaj. Diaspora for a Free Albania presented a unique proposal in September, which was promised to be endorsed by all deputies, he recounted. ‘But the Socialists withdrew their support at the last minute.’

Political Engagement and Diaspora Vote

Amendments made to the Electoral Code to endorse the diaspora vote, referred to by Klosi as an expression of the Socialist Party’s (SP) commitment, have been deemed ‘ambiguous and inconsistent with the Constitution’ by the Constitutional Court since 2022.

According to the court’s ruling, these provisions have created a legal vacuum and are unenforceable. Consequently, the court gave Parliament one year to amend the law.

Following this decision, the majority had three responsibilities, as outlined by researcher Afrim Krasniqi.

‘Firstly, issuing bylaws in consultation with the opposition. Secondly, drafting voter registration lists to include those with voting rights regardless of their location. Thirdly, creating mechanisms for representation in the Electoral Code, including areas or quotas, and specifying the voting method.’

‘However, the government has failed to draft the voter registration lists.

In 2016, a law on the registration of Albanians residing outside Albania was enacted.  However, this law was not implemented.

In 2017, the Prime Minister established the Ministry for the Diaspora, tasked with ‘coordinating the process to ensure the registration and voting rights of the diaspora.’ However, this initiative also failed.

Finally, in 2020, the Political Council introduced changes to the Electoral Code, which were supposed to be implemented by 2023, as stipulated by the Constitutional Court.

‘It seems that there is a lack of political will among the main political parties to advance this process’– Afrim Krasniqi commented to Faktoje, emphasizing that if the diaspora vote were a priority for the parties, there would be greater pressure on them and Parliament to approve it.

We have no cases where the government has negotiated with states within NATO or the EU on how Albanian citizens can register and vote from abroad. This indicates a lack of strategy,’– Krasniqi concluded.

According to Florian Haçkaj, the responsibility falls on those who have been in power for 11 years.

‘In our view, the ruling party bears the primary responsibility because it has had 3 mandates to govern Albania, has promised in every election campaign to address this issue, and has taken no action,’ he remarked.


Despite the lack of political will to fulfill this constitutional obligation, Florjan Haçkaj from Diaspora for Free Albania remains optimistic about enabling emigrant voting in their respective locations in the 2025 elections.

At the end of the day, they are grounded, and now they have nothing to do but fulfill this obligation. We see that progress is slow, and we are exerting our pressure as much as we can,’ he explains to Faktoje.

Afrim Krasniqi is less hopeful. He does not anticipate a major electoral reform that will definitively address diaspora voting. What may happen in the next elections, he explains, is testing in specific areas, similar to what was done with electronic voting.

There are mechanisms that can be tested, as well as the possibility of offering the CEC a facilitating mechanism through bylaws to assess whether diaspora voting is truly functional by targeting specific districts or areas. If this were to happen in the upcoming elections, it would be a positive development. Not perfect, but a step towards full diaspora voting in elections,’ he concludes.

One thing is certain: the claim that the Socialist Party has the will to fulfill this 10-year-old promise is false, as evidenced by the lack of political commitment and successive failures over the years in this process.


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