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On the charge of vote buying, SPAK makes an urgent move against a defendant (Name)
Written by SOT.COM.AL 5 Dhjetor 2023
Allegations of vote buying are an inevitable topic during election campaigns in Albania. Despite the inflation of political accusations, few cases have been investigated by the Prosecutor's Office over the years and even fewer have ended with charges.
After the May 14 elections, there is an increase in cases sent for trial.
The Special Prosecutor's Office against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK) announced on Tuesday that it has completed the investigations against the defendant Klodian Kapedani, residing in Kavaja, for the criminal offense "Active corruption in elections", provided for by Article 328 of the Criminal Code.
"From the investigative actions carried out in connection with this criminal proceeding, the fact has been proven that the defendant Klodian Kapidani, residing in Kavajë, on 14.05.2023, the date on which the general local elections for the election of local government bodies were held, was has promised and offered monetary sums to other persons in order to participate in the voting, to ensure the participation of other persons in the voting, as well as to determine the voting method," SPAK said through a press release.
At the end of the preliminary investigations, the Special Prosecutor's Office has submitted to the Special Court of First Instance for Corruption and Organized Crime the request for sending to trial criminal proceedings no. 88 of 2023 against the defendant.
Kapidani is not the only defendant accused by SPAK of buying votes in the May 14 local elections. The candidate of the 'Together We Win' coalition for the municipality of Himara, Fredi Beleri, was arrested on May 12 and is now being tried for the same charge.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Rrogozhina, Edison Memolla, has also been sent for trial for buying votes in the partial local elections of 2022.
According to the OSCE-ODIHR conclusions report for the May 14 elections, during the campaign there were numerous accusations of buying votes or providing financial incentives for people not to participate in the elections, in most cases claimed to be initiated by the SP and its informal ally, the Social Democratic Party.
The report recommends that the authorities should make real efforts to raise awareness of the phenomenon of vote-buying and the dangers it poses to the integrity of elections.
"Public denunciation of such practices before and during the campaign by key stakeholders, including state officials and party leaders, can serve to curb these practices," ODIHR concluded.