Socialist Party MP Taulant Balla has presented a draft resolution to the Speaker of Parliament Gramoz Ruci that aims to stamp out any foreign interference in elections or Albanian democracy.
The so-called resolution on “Foreign Interventions in the Electoral Process and Disinformation in the National Democratic Processes” mentions how there are influences from foreign public and non-public actors in Albania. These, according to the draft, are influencing decision-making in Albania and exerting pressure on democratic values.
Russia was mentioned as a “source of disinformation in the region, Europe and beyond”.
The resolution calls for the creation of a task force which will prevent the phenomenon of misinformation and prevent illegal financing in election campaigns. The only issue with this is what will be considered as “misinformation” and what the definition of “foreign public actors” will be.
The Socialist Party has a history of accusing those that speak out against the government of being on the payroll of foreign governments or trying to undermine democracy. The ruling Socialist Party hinted that German newspaper Bild was being paid by Russia after they published leaked prosecution wiretaps involving the ruling party in election rigging.
Also, in March of this year, pro-government news portals launched a smear campaign against Exit journalist Alice Taylor when she was six months pregnant.
Taylor was branded a “Russian Spy” by the portals in a fake news smear campaign that was widely condemned by international media freedom organisations. The attacks started after she commented on the opposition-led anti-government protests, along with another British journalist, to Russia Today. She also had her residence permit revoked by the government but this was later deemed unlawful by a Tirana court.
The draft resolution against foreign interference in elections comes at a time when the parliament and Prime Minister Edi Rama have failed to condemn criminals and Socialist Party politicians appearing to have engaged in vote-rigging during elections in 2016 and 2017.
Meanwhile, Russia has invited Albania and North Macedonia to join the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) along with Serbia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia. The invitation was extended by Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the EU, during the Eurasian Economic Forum in Verona last week.
“I am sure that the countries, which are candidates for EU membership and have recently been “put on ice” by Brussels, could find more understanding in the Eurasian Economic Union”, Chizhov said.