The FINANCIAL -- Albania's
ruling coalition and opposition came together Thursday under intense
pressure from the European Union to vote through electoral reforms after
three years of political wrangling.
The law on the new electoral code -- which includes changes in how the electoral commission is set up, a stricter control on voter IDs and the introduction of electronic voting in a key district-- was adopted with 127 votes in the 140-seat chamber, the parliament said in a statement.
The EU's ambassador to Albania, Ettore Sequi, hailed the vote as a "significant step forward".
"The EU has closely followed every moment of the process. It is clear to all that both the ruling majority and the opposition share the credit for working constructively together to succeed in this extremely important reform," he said in a statement.
According to EUbusiness, the international community hopes the reform will end the systematic contesting of results that have haunted nearly every Albanian election since the fall of communism in the 1990s.
The current political crisis, which started after the opposition refused to recognise the results of the 2009 general elections won by the right-wing ruling party, is the longest in Albania's post-communist history.
The opposition, which has been boycotting parliament on and off, had so far refused to vote on the majority of legislation requiring more than a simple majority in parliament, like the electoral reform but also legal and parliamentary reforms.
Sequi urged the political parties to continue with the other reforms needed for Albania to move closer to the EU.
"I trust that the same spirit of cooperation and compromise shown today will guide all actors in achieving the reforms which remain necessary for Albania to move further on its path towards the European Union," he said.
Albania hopes to attain EU candidacy status by the end of the year.