On the “Bugajski Hour” show, opposition leader Edi Rama said he does not believe in monitoring elections. “Most monitors look to me like spectators at a funeral,” Rama said to journalist Janusz Bugajski.When asked whether he thought Albania was moving forward in these elections compared to previous ones, he said, “I would quote one positive change. There are a variety of direct television broadcasting and live coverage, more space for people to express themselves and to listen to alternatives. For the rest, institutionally, we are not even there where we were before, but we have taken steps back, because we miss the central institution of elections, and the CEC has become a party organization by the ruling party.”
Some more excerpts:
What is your view on the ODIHR mission and the OSCE?
I have a mixed view. This is because I have seen them fail in 2009. I’ve seen them make an outstanding job in 2011. So I do not know how it works. I do not know why, but I have seen two different experiences. I hope it will be the same as in 2011 elections. I have a very good memory about the chief of mission, Jonathan Stonestreet, very impressive, very objective, very straight forwarded, very focused and the most important thing very respectful not to some sort of standarts, but to the standarts.
What is your view about pre-election report issued by ODIHR. I am looking at it and i think it is pretty fair and strong in terms of the problems?
I think it is the school of 2011 not the school of 2009, which is a good thing. I hope it will go like that.
Do you think that there are a sufficient number of observers in Albania to cover the whole territory?
I do not know. But I do not believe in monitoring the elections in Albania.
You do not believe it?
No! I said before! It is my personal opinion! I do not believe in monitoring in terms of appropriate monitoring to prevent what might happen. Because what has happened before has always been a “fait accompli”. “A fait accompli” accompanied with a terrible sense of weakness on the part of the international community against what happened. So, most monitors look to me like spectators at a funeral. And I hope this will not be the case. We had a very good report by ODHIR in the previous elections in 2011, a very good one. In a dissent organization of politics and state and the government this would have been a perfect roadmap to have very good election this time, but this has not change anything, We have elections that are even more disturbing, as discussed previously. So the distribution of seats and CEC is worst than before. The problem is that if they are not combined with a very good enough, very clear, very constructive pressure from the international community by saying: Listen, this is your country. It is up to you to make election not up to us.. But just keep in mind that if you want to be part of our family, NATO members and the EU, and the family of the democratic world, this is not the way to make elections. So either stop it here or you will have trouble with us. This is the way, but it does not go like this. Failure to do so, I cannot change my opinion. So i do not blame anyone, and I think that is why these missions do not have the right impact that they may have.
Watch the entire interview here.