Albania’s Parliament on Monday approved electoral law changes designed to prevent vote manipulation, which is a key condition for the country to start negotiations to join the European Union. The new electoral code will apply from next year’s scheduled April 25 parliamentary election.
Lawmakers present in the 140-seat house voted 97-15 in favor of the amendments and 5 abstained.
They also selected new officials at the country’s top electoral commission.
Changes include a 1 percent threshold for political parties to enter parliament.
Post-communist Albania’s elections have always been contested and marred by irregularities, including alleged vote-buying and manipulation of ballot counts.
The electoral reform followed recommendations from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which has monitored the country’s elections.
Albania’s Parliament is now dominated by the left-wing Socialist Party.
The main center-right opposition, which boycotted parliament last year, criticised the new electoral code.
Earlier this year the European Union gave the green light for Albania and North Macedonia to start full membership negotiations, but has yet to set a date for the talks.