Albania’s 'noncompetitive' local elections: A means to what end?

Albania’s 'noncompetitive' local elections: A means to what end?

Thursday, 7 November 2019 - 12:00pm
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HR
Gjovalin Macaj (Leiden University)
Stefan Szwed (CIS/DPIR, Oxford)
Charles Enoch (St Antony’s College, Oxford)

Light lunch provided

On 30 June Albania held elections for mayors and local councils across its 61 municipalities.  With the two main opposition parties boycotting the vote, voters faced little or no meaningful choice.  Only a fifth of the electorate turned out.  Rather than help consolidate the country's pro-democratic reform efforts, the elections appear to have perpetuated the political and constitutional crisis.  Were the international community’s concerns that postposed elections would set a dangerous precedent grounded?  Did the worries about the fate of the judicial reform justify the holding of what many commentators described as a deeply flawed vote?  What lessons can be drawn from the Albanian democracy dilemma?  

Gjovalin Macaj is University Lecturer in International Relations at the Institute for History, University of Leiden. His research is on the development of ethics in international society and the politics of the European Union. His publications include (with Kalypso Nicolaidis) ‘Beyond “one Voice”? Global Europe’s Engagement with Its Own Diversity’ (Journal of European Public Policy, 2014), and (with Joachim Koops) The European Union as Diplomatic Actor (Palgrave, 2015) and ‘Brexit and a “People’s Vote” – what would Wittgenstein do? (openDemocracy, 2019).

Stefan Szwed is an academic researcher in international relations and European politics, as well as a policy practitioner in the area of democracy support.  He is currently a Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies (CIS), Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR) at the University of Oxford. His academic research focuses on European integration, European foreign and security policies, Polish-German relations, German power in Europe and the EU’s relations with its neighbours (European Neighbourhood Policy and Eastern Partnership).  For over fifteen years, Stefan has served as an elections consultant with various international organizations and (I)NGOs. In the past, Stefan held numerous fellowships and grants, including from the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, Jan Karski Foundation and the Chevening Scholarship.  He obtained his doctorate (DPhil) in International Relations and an MPhil in European Politics and Society from the University of Oxford (St Antony’s College) and a BA from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. His has recently published a book entitled Asymmetry Matters: Poland, Germany and state power in a new Europe) published by Palgrave-Macmillan (St Antony's Series).