24-26 May 2019

Stockholm, Sweden

Representatives of Qemal Stafa Foundation attended the seminar of “EU Elections 2019” organized by Olof Palme International Center and Socialdemocraterna Party of Sweden, held in Stockholm on 24-26 May 2019. Representatives from other countries of the Balkans such as North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Belarus attended the election seminar.

The seminar was focused on the electoral campaign methods implemented by the Swedish Social Democratic Party, on the European Union’s social democracy policies and on the enlargement process within the Swedish perspective.

On the day of arrival the participants were interviewed from the Swedish Social Democratic Party’s newspaper where they talked about the values ​​of social democracy, the best methods that the Socialist Party of Albania can apply from Sweden and the current political situation in Albania, the opposition’s decision to burn mandates and the boycott of the election. The stated that the protest are a fundamental right of every citizen in democracy but the protests should not be violent and should not destroy the institutional properties.

During the first day of the seminar, there were several meetings held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Ulrika Gruffman, Head of the European Union Department where the EU Enlargement Policy in the Western Balkans was discussed. Later, it was held a meeting in the Swedish Parliament with Asa Westlund, Chair of the Swedish Commission for European Affairs, where the focus of the meeting was on democratic social policies and the priority of European Union integration. She claimed that Sweden has always been a supporter of enlargement but the country is reserved for federalist initiatives such as the common currency and the strong central government.

In the afternoon there were conducted several consecutive seminars on the strategy and methods in European elections at the ABF offices. Johan Hassel, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Sweden’s Social Democratic Party and Johan Zanchi, European Election Campaign Manager, discussed electoral strategy and campaign organization methods. Benedict Hugosson, Coordinator of  Dialogue with Citizens and Ingrid Rufin, Organization Coordinator in the Region of Stockholm discussed the approach with the citizens during the electoral campaign.

At the end of the day, they were introduced with the work method at Call Center’s Social Democratic Party offices where the citizens were contacted to remind them to go vote and the program of Social Democratic party was presented shortly to them.

On the second day of the European Election Workshop, the representatives participated in the door to door campaign and canvassing in the area of Solna, ​​Stockholm. On the third day, they took part at the program for international observers organized from Olof Palme International Center and in cooperation with the Swedish International Liberal Center.

They monitored the electoral process, took note of the turnout, number of first voters, and process development methodology in 12 voting centers distributed in the suburbs and central areas of Stockholm. Some of the key election procedures were the speed of voting results which was announced at the national level in Sweden before 23:00pm on the Election Day, at the same time total acceptance of results by all political parties without any controversy, voter turnout compared to previous European elections as well as allowing the election campaign from political parties during the election day.

As a conclusion the representatives came up with ideas of how Albania can apply a system of future election administration that will consequently affect the democratization of the country including of non-affiliated party commissioners, a central technical committee of technical choices, a less complicated voting process where each citizen enrolls in envelopes and the ballot counting process which was done at each polling station.