Ilir Kalemaj, a political scientist, expressed concerns about the upcoming local elections in Albania on May 14 during a debate with Alba Alishani on A2 CNN. He stated that the issues surrounding elections have changed and that now votes are being bought before they even reach the ballot box.
“In every election process that we have held, the same cliché paragraph has been noticed: it is a little better than last time, but we still have work to do to capture free and fair elections.
“The issues are different. In the past, elections were stolen, and this still happens in countries with hybrid democracies. In the past, there were forms of family voting, but now we have new phenomena. For example, the involvement of public administration. There were 10,000 newly hired employees just before the last parliamentary elections in 2021. We had the use of funds for the earthquake. We also have patrons. We have newer, more sophisticated forms of manipulating elections before reaching the ballot box,” Kalemaj said.