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ATA News from Albania (96-06-14)

Albanian Telegraphic Agency Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at <http://www.telpress.it/ata>

Albanian Telegraphic Agency

CONTENTS

  • [01] EX-STATE SECURITY AGENT, OSCE OBSERVER IN MAY 26 POLL
  • [02] A FORMER POLICEMAN SENTENCED 18 YEARS IN PRISON
  • [03] ALBANIAN PAINTINGS IN U.S. SENATE
  • [04] EX-STATE SECURITY AGENT, OSCE OBSERVER IN MAY 26 POLL
  • [05] PRESS REVIEW
  • [06] PRESIDENT OF AUSTRIAN PARLIAMENT ACCEPTS REQUEST BY ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER
  • [07] "OPPOSITION PARTIES ARE WELCOMED FOR DIALOGUE, BUT UNDER NO CONDITIONS" - DP chairman Shehu
  • [08] PRESS RELEASE
  • [09] ALBANIAN JUSTICE MINISTER ATTENDS 20TH CONFERENCE OF CE JUSTICE MINISTERS
  • [10] JUDICIAL ARGUMENTS OF CEC ON SOME GROUNDLESS OSBE REMARKS - News conference
  • [11] U.S. FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH VISITS VLORA

  • [01] EX-STATE SECURITY AGENT, OSCE OBSERVER IN MAY 26 POLL

    TIRANA, JUNE 14 (ATA)- Tue Magnussen, Danish observer in the May 26 elections, having both the mandate of the Socialist Party (SP) and of the OSCE (ODIHR), has been recruited in service of the State Security structures since 1970, when he first came to Albania, the newspaper Albania says on Friday.

    Magnussen has come to Albania under the pretext of studying the Albanian language. He has been member of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Denmark, its extreme wing.

    Magnussen has been reactivated by Sigurimi again since 1993 and has been very active in every activity on Albania in Denmark in which he has attacked the democratic process in Albania with an unprecedented aggressiveness. kei/lm/k

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [02] A FORMER POLICEMAN SENTENCED 18 YEARS IN PRISON

    TIRANA, JUNE 13 (ATA) By Atlant Frasheri - A panel of Tirana Court sentenced, Thursday, to 18 years in prison Engjell Bitaj, a former policeman, charged of killing for personal motifs Adrian Lleshi.

    A car's colliding and a row later were the origin of crime. Bitaj shot with his revolver Adrian Lleshi on November 28, 1995 near Hotel "Arberia"

    The prosecutor asked 20 years in prison as "the crime could be avoided by the defendant and was committed by a revolver given to him only to fulfill the duty."

    The defendant recognised the charge and as a result was sentenced with two years less than the sentence asked by the prosecutor of the case. gen/fh/k

    <

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [03] ALBANIAN PAINTINGS IN U.S. SENATE

    TIRANA, JUNE 14 (ATA) By F Nikolla - Works of the Albanian painter Shkelqim Kokonozi are exhibited in the U.S. Senate halls.

    American senator Orrin Hatch who visited Albania a month ago sent a letter to the Albanian painter, Shkelqim Kokonozi to inform him that some of his works he had bought during his stay in Albania are exhibited in the U.S. Senate offices.

    Hatch in his letter said: "Your works are highly estimated by many specialists." He asks the painter to send him photos of his works so that he could organise their exhibition and sale in Washington.

    Shkelqim Kokonozi has opened personal exhibitions in Albania and Italy. His works have also been exhibited in national exhibitions in Albania and abroad. He is considered a specialist of landscape and portrait, an applier of a special technique in the use and harmony of dim colours which tend to be grey, green and blue.

    Kokonozi's works are exhibited in a private art gallery in Tirana. fh/g

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [04] EX-STATE SECURITY AGENT, OSCE OBSERVER IN MAY 26 POLL

    TIRANA, JUNE 14 (ATA)- Tue Magnussen, Danish observer in the May 26 elections, having both the mandate of the Socialist Party (SP) and of the OSCE (ODIHR), has been recruited in service of the State Security structures since 1970, when he first came to Albania, the newspaper Albania reports on Friday.

    Magnussen has come to Albania under the pretext of studying the Albanian language. He has been member of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Denmark, its extreme wing.

    Magnussen has been reactivated by Sigurimi again since 1993 and has been very active in every activity on Albania in Denmark in which he has attacked the democratic processes in Albania with an unprecedented aggressiveness.

    Magnussen was in Albania in 1970, 1971, 1973, 1976, 1977 and on May 26 1996 "with the final hope to restore communism in Albania".

    "He has carried out an intense activity serving Sigurimi also after Mangussen was suspected to be a worshipper of the three world theory. The reactivation of Magnussen is one of the typical cases of the reactivation of the old agents by the Albanian State Security, several of whose chiefs are now political refugees in the West," the paper reports.

    According to the paper, during his stays in Albania in the morning he tried to learn Albanian, while in the afternoon he worked with State Security special staffs to work out the plan to destroy the NATO services in Copenhagen.

    Mangussen has been active in tours of several Albanian left wing youths in Denmark, under the cover of tourst groups, and has organised them as ready structures to carry out propaganda and sensitize the international public on any occasion available.

    He initiated the introduction in the OSCE remarks of such classical slanders such as: "a commission members was arrested because he aked a chair to be seated", and other slanders, the paper says.

    "Despite respect for the OSCE, Albanians are right to be offended when a western institution sends again as an observer a man who has during the years of dictatorship has observed them as a spy, a man who throughout his life has invested to keep the Enver Hoxha regime alive," the paper says further on.

    Thursday's Albania said that Mangussen turns out to have been a close friend and collaborator of dictator Enver Hoxha.

    In the meantime, in its Wednesday issue, Albania reported that nine of the OSCER obervers for the May 26 elections in Albania were invited by the SP.

    The SP has picked them up from an extremist Norwegian political left wing group, (Norwegian youth labour party) that has nothing in common with the Norwegian social democrat party On May 10, the group of Norwegian observers was attached to the Central Electoral Commission as observers invited by the Socialist Party, that its, after gaining this status 10 days later and precisely on May 20, the OSCE coordinator, Mark Power, appears before the Central Electoral Commission in Tirana and asks to attach as OSCE observers precisely nine observers from Norway invited from the Socialist Party. kei/lm/g

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [05] PRESS REVIEW

    TIRANA, JUNE 14 (ATA) - Today's Rilindja Demokratike entitles its editorial "Electoral procedure moves in the right direction" and another article says "Two days before partial elections in Albania, OSCE publishes its report on elections of June 2 in Albania. The report was eagerly expected to be used by the left opposition, in its recommendations ti did not put in discussion the validity of elections and in no case asks for their rerun." The paper publishes an article regarding the speech President Sali Berisha held in the second UN Conference for settlement (Habitat II) in Istanbul three days ago.

    Zeri i Popullit carries an article entitled "Pole of the Centre offers cooperation to surpass the crisis in the country" where it alludes that the DAP and SDP candidates for deputies will take part in the 17 constituencies the elections are to be rerun because of irregularities during first round of elections. "The election law has been violated" is the title of another article speaking about the OSCE report on elections in Albania.

    "Pole of the Centre repents" is the editorial of Tribuna where it comments the return of the DAP and SDP candidates in the 17 constituencies it will be rerun on June 16, 1996.

    Another article entitles "122 years in prison for six former senior communist officials" regarding the sentencing of former high ranking officials upon the charge of genocide and violence against the people, violating the elementary human rights and freedoms.

    Albania publishes an article about one of the OSCE observers during May 26 elections, the Danish Tue Magnussen who according to the paper has been recruited by the former state Sigurimi in Albania in 1970. "Ceka and Gjinushi isolated" is another article which reports on a demand they made to the Austrian Chancellor Franc Vranicky to mediate in the Albanian government regarding the May 26 elections and the refusal of Vranicky for such a thing. It says "Vranicky categorically excludes the possibility of interference or mediation in the Albanian authorities.

    Koha Jone publishes an article entitled "DAP and SDP will participate in the elections but on conditions." "Bearing in consideration the many critics of the OSCE report, the parties of the pole have yesterday proposed to participate in the elections decreed by President Berisha but on the condition that they be a test for those of May 26 and to be totally monitored and developed by foreigners.

    Gazeta Shqiptare reports: "The Pole of Center (PC) will vote again" and further down adds: "If this test discards the results of May 26 then, we automatically will have a general rerun of the elections within a short period of time".

    "Austrian chancellor said 'no' to the request of PC leaders", is the title of the editorial on Republika newspaper. On behalf of the Austrian Chancellor, his spokesman told APA that he will not interfere mediate regarding the alleged manipulations on the May 26 elections", the newspaper reports.

    Rilindja newspaper dedicates an ample space to the participation of president Berisha in the U.N. Conference on the Human Settlements held in Istanbul. "In his speech Berisha considered the economic reforms during the last four years as a successful period", the paper reports.

    Under the title "Boosting the security and the stability in the Balkans", Lajmi i Dites newspaper in its front page carries the article "Albanian diplomacy and the Tirana military commitments are increasing the contacts with the international bodies on joint projects for a safer region". fh/gen/k

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [06] PRESIDENT OF AUSTRIAN PARLIAMENT ACCEPTS REQUEST BY ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER

    TIRANA, JUNE 14 (ATA) - President of Austrian Parliament Dr Heinz Fischer after discussion and approval by all chairmen of parliamentary groups accepted a request by his Albanian counterpart Pjeter Arbnori on the possibility of sending an Austrian Parliament delegation of observers for June 16, 1996 elections.

    The delegation will consist of Mr Krauser (Socialdemocratic Party), Wolgang Grossruch (People's Conservative Party), Kapral (Free Party) and two other deputies.

    This fact confuted misinformation by some opposition papers that allegedly the social democratic parties of Europe have called for full rerun of elections. It also turns down false declarations that these papers alleged to have been made by Mr Heiz Fischer. ssh/kled/xh/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [07] "OPPOSITION PARTIES ARE WELCOMED FOR DIALOGUE, BUT UNDER NO CONDITIONS" - DP chairman Shehu

    BERAT, JUNE 14 (ATA) - By I Manka: Leader of the Democratic Party of Albania Prof Dr Tritan Shehu today met with inhabitants of Ura Vajgurore in Berat, who are members of the 89th constituency which will have a rerun of polls on June 16.

    Present in the meeting also was the deputy and vice prime minister Dylber Vrioni and the deputy and chairwoman for DP in Berat Kozeta Menkulasi.

    "In this constituency the DP won but we observe the law and on June 16 we shall take part in the rerun of elections to win," said Shehu.

    Referring to SP members and sympathizers, Shehu said that DP is for an equal treatment of all because we all are Albanians and we are against class divisions, we are not for differentiations. But we didn't receive the same message from socialist electors in the rerun.

    Commenting the withdrawal of socialists from elections, Shehu said that such an act was a result of a shameless order which led to an abandonment of the electorate. There are moderate forces in SP, which are interested in the creation of a modern European left wing. He said that opposition parties are welcomed for dialogue but without conditions. The Albanian left wing is an extreme wing which wants to spoil the good image of Albania in Europe. Very few politicians in the world, he said, work against the interests of their country.

    The democratic leader also had a meeting in the commune of Lapardha. kled/xh/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [08] PRESS RELEASE

    Tirana , June 14 /ATSH/- The Central Electoral Commission after familiarizing itself with the ODIHR report is working to provide a full and detailed response to all questions raised in it.

    However, what attracts one's attention in the said report is the conclusion according to which "32 articles out of 79 that had to do with the pre-electoral period and the election day were violated".

    The commission does not at all exclude the shortcomings in the application of the electoral law and is open and ready to examine them one by one. But the above conclusion drawn on the basis of the observation of only 7 per cent of the polling stations and more over not supported by arguments has created perplexity among all the commission members. This, more over, with the ODIHR report saying nothing of the arbitrary withdrawal from the constituencies commissions and polling stations of the opposition representatives, a thing which could not but affect the credibility of the final voting outcome.

    We as a commission have been open to cooperation not only with the ODIHR observers but also with others. There is no case in foreign observers have not been not received, clarified or granted authorization for observation by the Presidency and special Commission members.

    The Central Electoral Commission, as the only competent institution, together with the final announcement of the election results, will also provide assessments about the proceeding of the voting process, the law implementation, achievements and shortcomings as well as the respective recommendations. But, in advance, expressing the unanimous decision of the commission members, it can declare that the electoral law in general has been rigorously implemented and that the shortcomings in not observing it, have not seriously damaged the voting process.

    Follow preliminary explanations on articles which are pretended to have been violated:

    Article 4

    The right to elect has been exercised in every case based on the voters' lists and in the polling stations where they have been enrolled. The commission has not claimed or observed any case with certain electors having voted more than once.

    Article 13

    Besides cases when the Constitutional Court's response has been expected (regarding complaints filed about the decisions of the Commission for the Scrutiny of political figures), the enrollments have generally been made on time. There have also been cases when due to the fault of the subject, the request for enrollment has been submitted with delay. In cases, when the delay has been due to objective reasons, the CEC has decided to enroll them.

    In cases when this commission has refused to enrol the candidates, the latter have addressed themselves to the Constitutional Court, which, upon finding the CEC decision groundless, has annulled them. This is normal and we hold that it is an indication of the rigorous implementation and respect for the law, normal functioning of the competent institutions and not an indication of legalising violations.

    Article 16

    The above reasoning can serve to explain this article, as well. Delays in respecting the 25 day term for the candidate enrollment have been due to the above mentioned reasons. The CEC has also encountered cases when these delays have been due to the constituency commissions that had not been ready to respond the subjects' demands on time. As regards the Saranda case, which is mentioned in point II-II of the report, the decision of the constituency commission to refuse enrollment was annulled by the Constitutional Court and the candidate was enrolled.

    Article 19

    Except press allegations referring to the Interior Minister and the NIS Chairman, the CEC has received no complaint of its violation.

    Article 21 and 22

    One should admit that despite the efforts made, there have been found irregularities in the voters' lists, irrespective of the measures taken by the local government competent structures. The irregularities are also linked with the movement of the Albanian population in and out of the country. Complaints, too, have been few. In general the 30 day term of announcing the lists, but the delays in this directions, as it is rightfully said in the ODIHR report, did not deprive the voters of the possibility to get familiarised with them at an adequate time. Article 28 This is generally applied. However, based on complaints filed by different political subjects to the CEC, the latter has ordered the local government structures to provide the political subjects with the lists against payment.

    Article 29 This article has not been violated. The President of the Republic decreed the constituencies within the deadline also respecting other criteria envisaged by this article. Naturally, declaring the constituencies and the election date earlier would surely positively affect the well proceeding of the whole election process at different stages. However, the report's allegation that the article has been violated is groundless. Article 31 There have been no violations. Regarding the constituencies' distribution: there has been no constituency with 12000 or 27000 electors as the report alleges. The number of electors varied from 18000-24000. We stress that great demographic movements have seriously affected this process.

    So in the last two days in a constituency in which the voters' number was estimated to be 20000, its number increased to 27000 because of the return of the refugees from Greece. We think that in these three or four constituencies there is ground for reconsideration and we will make the proper suggestion in the proper time.

    Nevertheless the attendance in the polls at about 89 per cent is meaningful enough to show the extent of the influence either in lists inaccuracy and constituency distribution.

    Article 32

    Although the deadline for defining the polls (no later than 20 days before the election day) was not respected, mainly due to well-known difficulties in assuring the proper environments, this did not make up an obstacle for all polls to be ready on May 26, 1996.

    Article 36

    The duties this article stipulates for the CEC were met with the maximum engagement of all the members also including those of the opposition while they stayed in the commission. For the equal implementation of the election law all over the country, the CEC compiled six detailed instructions which, except the way of defining the constituencies commission presidencies in which the opposition representatives had opposite views were realised in a full consensus. The CEC instructions referred to all problems of the law beginning with the candidate enrollment, the identifying document valid for voting, rules for the local and foreign observers, those for the covering the the election campaign on TV, the way of providing the election results and others. The only complaint against the CEC is that it should have been more operating in verifying the preparatory measures for a normal holding of the all procedures, mainly before the election day.

    Articles 37, 38, 39 and 40 These articles have to do with the creation and powers of the constituencies commissions and polling stations.

    Despite violations in several cases of the deadlines for the creation of these commissions and delays or irregularities in taking decisions regarding the complaints filed, the commissions' performance and engagement of their members have been correct.

    Naturally, one cannot exclude several technical irregularities during the voting process also linked with the knowledge extent, irregularities in estimating especially of the valid and invalid ballot papers. The latter, as rightfully noted by foreign observers, are also related to the somewhat difficult procedure of operation on the ballot paper by the voters (which remains to be adjusted in the future). But it is different to say the law has been violated and different to pretend for improvements to the law. And such cases have also been noted by the CEC and will be made known at proper time to the competent structures.

    Article 44

    There has been no complaint or findings for meetings of various level commissions held without the presence of the majority of members or for decisions taken in the presence of a minority. The participation of observers in the commission has generally been guaranteed.

    Article 48

    There have been no cases of commission members or observes to have kept party badges or to have taken part in election propaganda activities.

    Article 51

    The electoral campaign began with the declaration of the election day and closed 24 hours before this day. That is, the claim that this article has been violated is groundless.

    Article 53

    As regards the covering of the electoral campaign on the RTV, the CEC issued an instruction , whereas the RTV issued a programme which was improved with the remarks from the CEC. Although the CEC holds the RTV has carried out a good performance in covering the electoral campaign on the TV, there have been remarks from political subjects both from the ruling party and from the opposition mainly regarding the space of time.

    One should also say that Media (also according to the press release of the Parliamentary Assembly observers on May 26, 1996) "did well in informing voters of the electoral procedures".

    Articles 56, 57

    There have been allegations regarding participation in the campaign of foreigners invited by various parties. The commission holds that here we have more to do with a xenophobia concept than with law violation, under the new conditions of Albania's opening to the world. We have observed no distribution of propaganda material by the local government structures.

    Article 60

    The CEC maintains that the police during the electoral campaign have generally made great efforts to guarantee, under difficult conditions, its normal development by all the electoral subjects. Cases have been ascertained with certain police officers surpassing or not properly exercising their powers. Regarding these cases, we are aware that the people concerned have submitted denunciations to the competent organs for penal prosecution.

    Article 63

    This article has not been violated. There have been no cases of propaganda materials to have been used in polling stations or of political parties headquarters or depoliticised state institutions to have been used as polling stations.

    Article 64

    The ODIHR report mentions several violations of technical character. However, the CEC shares the view of the Parliamentary Assembly observer delegation that "the people responsible in the polling stations, in general have carried out their tasks normally and in compliance with the law".

    Article 66

    In general, the technical problems created in several polling stations due to inappropriate environments or due to the lack of the suitable conditions for a fast voting have existed and will still exist in the future, although the improvements from elections to elections are prominent.

    Article 68

    It is necessary, also according to the CEC, in order to avoid the invalid ballot papers, the procedure defined in this article be changed in the future. This will also help that the voting process be fast and easy for the electors.

    Article 70 and 71

    There have been no complaints or observations for their violation.

    Article 72, 73, 74 and 75

    These are all articles dealing with the operations carried out by the polling stations commission when the voting is over. It is true, violations and irregularities have been observed in the counting process and especially in assessing the ballot papers (valid or invalid). Although the ODIHR report generally speaks of these violations, a part of them have been ascertained. In view of the aforesaid findings, the CEC, which is working seriously and with responsibility, at its own initiative, initially decided not to recognize the election results in four constituencies, ordering their repetitio (at a time when the international institutions had not yet expressed in favour of a partial annulment of the elections). Later, as it is already known, at the request of the President of the Republic and based on complaints from different electoral subjects, the CEC ,checking in detail all the documentation of a great number of constituencies and polling stations, decided to annul and rerun the vote in 13 other constituencies.

    This is the truth regarding the allegations for massive violation of the law on elections.

    The CEC, once again, respecting all international and local organizations regarding the expressed remarks and views on the process of elections in Albania, expressed readiness and is open to co-operation with all, also including the ODIHR observers, convinced that in this way it serves the democratic processes in Albania./lm/fh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [09] ALBANIAN JUSTICE MINISTER ATTENDS 20TH CONFERENCE OF CE JUSTICE MINISTERS

    TIRANA, JUNE 14 (ATA) - By Atlant Frasheri: Albanian Justice Minister, Mr Hektor Frasheri attended the 20th conference of Justice ministers of the Council of Europe member states which was held in Budapest from June 11-12, 1996. The topic of the conference was "Efficiency and equality of civic, penal and administrative justice."

    Frasheri said that "in the Eastern European countries this phenomenon has brought about a significant increase of the work of the courts especially in the field of administrative and trade right."

    There was no talk of the right of the national to complaint for an administrative act during the communist period in Albania.

    Further on, Albanian minister considered the quality of the work of judiciaries as one of the aspects of the efficiency of justice, stressing that "justice ministers may and must be legally engaged in leading and controlling activities through administrative functions to ensure the maximum efficiency, without affecting the judicial activity.

    During the days of the conference, Frasheri met with his Italian counterpart, Flick, Austrian Justice Minister Mikalek, the Spanish Mariskal, Bulgarian Cerveniakov with whom Albanian minister has signed various agreements.

    During a meeting with the Greek Justice minister, Venizellos, Frasheri discussed problems related to the extradition of Albanian prisoners in Greece, which has been put on the way of solution (first documents for 25-30 prisoners have arrived and are being considered,) the facilitation for the granting of visas to Albanian nationals who have conflicts to solve about their assets in Greece, for which Venizellos pledged that he will again mediate in the Foreign Ministry so that the Greek Embassy in Tirana receive recommendations for an easier and quicker procedure for the visa granting. ssh/jz/xh/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [10] JUDICIAL ARGUMENTS OF CEC ON SOME GROUNDLESS OSBE REMARKS - News conference

    TIRANA, JUNE 14 (ATA) - By R Floqi: The Central Electoral Commission after familiarizing itself with OSCE/ODIHR report, presented today at noon in a news conference its judicial arguments regarding all the issues which led OSCE to an incorrect conclusion that "32 articles of 79 related to the pre-electoral period and the election day were violated."

    The commission does not at all exclude the shortcomings in the application of the electoral law and is open and ready to examine them one by one. But the above conclusion drawn on the basis of the observation in only 7 per cent of the polling stations and more over not supported by arguments has surprised all the commission members. This, moreover, with the ODIHR report saying nothing about the arbitrary withdrawal from the constituencies commissions and polling stations of the opposition representatives, a thing which could not but affect the credibility of the final voting outcome," said the member of the Central Electoral Commission, jurist Vladimir Kristo.

    Today the CEC voiced the unanimous decision of its members declaring that the electoral law in general has been rigorously implemented and that cases of not observing it have not brought any serious damage to the voting process.

    "We as a commission have been open to cooperation not only with the ODIHR observers but also with others. There have been no cases when foreign observers have not been not received, clarified or granted authorization for observation by the Presidency of the Commission and its members, he said.

    Further on Mr Kristo explained one by one the 32 articles claimed to have been violated according to OSCE report.

    Regarding Article 13 he said that "With the exception of cases when the Constitutional Court's response has been expected (regarding complaints filed about the decisions of the Commission for the Scrutiny of political figures), the enrollments have generally been made on time.

    With regard to articles 21 and 22, Mr Kristo explained that "one should admit that despite the efforts made, there were noted irregularities in the voter lists, despite measures taken by the local government competent structures, which were better than those in the previous elections. The irregularities are also linked with the movement of the Albanian population in and out of the country.

    As for Article 31 he said: "Regarding the constituency distribution, there has been no constituency with 12000 or 27000 electors as the report alleges. The number of electors varied from 18000-24000. We stress that great demographic movements have seriously affected this process. So in the last two days in a constituency in which the voters' number was estimated to be 20000, voters turnout increased to 27000 because of the refugees coming from Greece.

    The President of the Republic decreed the constituencies within the deadline. Naturally, declaring the constituencies and the election date earlier would have surely had a positive affect on the right procedure of the whole election process at different stages. Although the deadline for defining the polling stations (no later than 20 days before the election day) was not respected, mainly due to well-known difficulties in assuring the proper environments, this did not cause any obstacle and all the polling stations were ready on May 26, 1996, said the jurists.

    Naturally, said kristo, one cannot exclude several technical irregularities during the voting process also linked with the level of knowledge, irregularities in estimating especially of the valid and invalid ballot papers. The latter, as was rightfully noted by foreign observers, are also related to the somewhat difficult procedure of operation on the ballot paper by the voters (which remains to be set right in the future).

    "But it is different to say the law has been violated and different to pretend for improvements to the law," Kristo said.

    With regard to SP's representatives pulling out of election after a question by a reporter, Mr Kristo said: "Their withdrawal is arbitrary and runs not only counter to the law but also to the role of the institutions erected for elections."

    The CEC maintains that the police during the electoral campaign have generally made great efforts to guarantee, under difficult conditions, its normal ongoing for all the electoral subjects. Cases have been ascertained about certain police officers surpassing or not properly exercising their powers. Regarding these cases, we are aware that the people concerned have submitted denunciations to the competent organs for penal prosecution.

    The ODIHR report mentions several violations of technical character. However, the CEC shares the view of the Parliamentary Assembly observer delegation that "the people responsible in the polling stations, in general have carried out their tasks normally and in compliance with the law".

    It is necessary, also according to the CEC, that in order to avoid the invalid ballot papers, the procedure defined in this article be changed in the future. This will also lead to a faster and easier voting process for the voters.

    Asked by a reporter of Poli i Qendres if he considered "a political act the announcement of 17 constituencies for a rerun of elections due to irregularities noted," Mr Kristo said: "We did not declare that the elections were orderly, we announced the decisions of the constituency commissions."

    In view of the aforesaid findings, he said that "the CEC, which is working seriously and with responsibility, at its own initiative, initially decided not to recognize the election results in four constituencies, ordering their repetition (at a time when the international institutions were not yet pronounced for a partial annulment of the elections). Later, as it is already known, at the request of the President of the Republic and based on complaints from different electoral subjects, the CEC checking in detail all the documentation of a great number of constituencies and polling stations, decided to annul and rerun the vote in 13 other constituencies.

    Secretary of the Central Electoral Commission Kreshnik Spahiu said that the ballot paper will not change in the rerun of voting despite remarks about it because it can be made after an amendment to the electoral law. With regard to the foreign observers, he said that a great number of requests have been made by other monitors to observe the June 16, 1996 election. xh/lm/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [11] U.S. FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH VISITS VLORA

    VLORA, JUNE 14 (ATA) - By H Koci: U.S. former President George Bush and general Collin Powel with their families today were guests of the President of Albania, Sali Berisha, in the city of Vlora, southwestern Albania.

    At 14.00 President Berisha invited U.S. friends to his residence in that city and had a working luncheon. In their talks, Berisha, Bush and Powel focused on problems of the political life in Albania and the situation in the region.

    Presidence's spokeswoman said Bush and general Powel are visiting Albania on a one-day visit as guests of President Berisha.

    Speaking of their meeting, the spokeswoman said that President Berisha informed former President Bush of the political situation in Albania stressing that Albania would know how to resist the efforts for a destabilization of the country undertaken by old communist forces and some circles interested in such a situation.

    President Berisha guaranteed the U.S. guests that the Albanian Government was making all efforts to set right all shortcomings noted during the May 26 elections, after voting boycott by left wing forces.

    During the talk they also focused on the situation in the region. President Berisha highlighted the role of IFOR in Bosnia and described it as decisive for a defeat of warmongers in the region. He said their possible withdrawal would be of consequences for the whole region because it might help encourage the former aggressors who caused the conflict in Bosnia.

    Also the question of Kosova took an important place in their discussion. President Berisha reiterated the Albanian viewpoint that the solution to the question of Kosova is one of the key points for the establishment of peace in the Balkans.

    After the meeting, Bush said he was happy with his second visit to Albania, after that in November 1994, and with the impressive achievements in the successful development of democracy in the country.

    "I am very happy to come to Albania again," said Bush. "I have respect for President Berisha and for what he has made for the privatization of the Albanian economy, by raising the welfare of the Albanian people to a satisfactory level. I see here, in this magnificent country, an extraordinary progress and am much pleased to be here together with general Powel as guests of President Berisha.

    In the afternoon President Berisha was invited in the yacht of former President Bush and General Powel. ssh/kled/xh/sh/


    From the Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at http://www.telpress.it/ata


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