Making running for office more affordable in Albania

Making running for office more affordable in Albania
In September 2019, WFD and the Albanian Enterprise Institute published a study which outlined and analysed the costs that at present are incurred by party candidates. The study reveals how much the political landscape in Albania is open to citizens' engagement with politics.  
person standing in front of a microphone, albanian flag
26 September 2019
Location
Introduction

The "cost of politics" is made up of the costs that a political party or a candidate faces from the moment when they decide to run for office until the moment votes are counted. These costs include money spent on organising meetings and renting offices, as well as food and refreshments for staff, transportation costs, and printing posters and leaflets.

Currently, the average monthly wage in Albania is €227. But many MPs have publicly said that the costs they faced during elections were as high as €500,000 - almost 100 years of yearly average income in Albania. These costs can deter citizens from running for election.

Political parties in Albania are allocated money based on the latest results of parliamentary elections. So, the more votes they got at the last election, the more money the political party is given. Therefore, the system favours major political parties and makes it difficult for new political forces to participate in the democratic process. What is more, no funding or reimbursement of electoral expenses is provided to independent candidates.

Because of this, it is almost impossible to guarantee the right of every citizen to access the political process on equal terms, which is as an essential condition of a pluralistic democracy. Democratic regimes based on popular sovereignty differ from other regimes precisely because they offer all citizens an equal and transparent political space to compete for elected posts. This condition is not met based on the way the parties are financed under the Albanian legislation.