The OSCE Presence in Albania (the Presence) is assisting the Albanian authorities to further improve the electoral legislation and strengthen the election administration capacities to meet the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations. The Presence has supported the electoral reforms in Albania throughout the years, being one of the key pillars of its mandate, supporting the reviewing of primary and secondary legislation, assisting in enhancing election administration, facilitating debates amongst political parties, and encouraging the exchanging of opinions by all stakeholders. To this end, technical expertise has been offered to Albanian electoral authorities aiming to enhance their understanding of specific issues including out of country voting. The Assembly of Albania approved on 23 July the Electoral Code amendments concluded as a result of the political agreement reached in June among political actors. The voting right of Albanian citizens residing out of Albania has been one of the topics discussed by working group during the preparation of amendments. Consensually approved amendments to Electoral Code for the first time stipulate the right to vote in the elections for the Assembly for voters whose permanent residence is out of the territory of the Republic of Albania. However, the new legal provisions briefly regulate only general principles of out of country voting, the reaming details will have to be determined in the bylaws. The new legal framework tasks the Central Election Commission (CEC) to organize and administer the process, to approve sub-legal acts detailing the procedure for out of country voting, the logistics of the process, and coordinate with other institutions. In the meantime, Albanian Ministry for Diaspora has coordinated its efforts with other institutions to enable out of country voting for Albanian citizens. The Action Plan of National Strategy of Diaspora 2018 – 2024 drafted by Ministry for Diaspora envisaged including voters registration data in the National Register of the Civil Status for Albanian citizens living abroad to enable their participation in elections. As part of the initiatives to implement the Action Plan and efforts by the Minister of Diaspora, the General Directorate of Civil Status, at Ministry of Interior created the online portal for emigrants living abroad to register their addresses. The Presence will provide assistance to the new bodies (to be established) of CEC to draft the sub-legal acts detailing the procedure for out of country voting and the logistics of the process in line with the new adopted amendments to Electoral Code. This will be achieved by hiring a senior international elections expert who will assist CEC by providing a comparative research analysis detailing out of country voting modalities in some EU and SEE countries. The Presence requires the services of an experienced international expert who will work from home to provide expertise on the topic of out of country voting.
Under the guidance of the overall supervision of the National Electoral Reform Officer, the expert will be responsible for preparing and delivering a comparative analysis on Out of Country Voting (OCV) to support the implementation process of OCV in Albania. The expert shall provide information by focusing on best practices, modalities and limitations of OCV in some EU and SEE countries with particular focus on those with regional proportional electoral system. Specific countries will be decided by the expert in consultation with the Presence. Comprehensive overview on the models of OCV, the methods used be each country shall also be provided to explain the framework in which the OCV was implemented and the their feasibility of application in Albania. The report shall include at minimum the following: - Comparative analysis of OCV practices with focus only on postal voting in countries with an electoral system similar to Albania, the type of elections (presidential, parliamentary, local elections and referendum), the advantages, disadvantages and limitations of each voting model in countries included in the comparison regarding the upholding of election standards. - Regulation of political representation of citizens living out of country in countries part of the comparison, the constituencies and allocation of emigrant’s votes. - Specific barriers faced by the authorities to implement OCV and the method of postal voting chosen to be used to enable voting of citizens living abroad (necessary amendments of the legislations, the registration of voters, the procedures for OCV, the barriers for participation in elections, the challenging in counting the ballots, the timeframe for each preparation process to implement OCV etc.). - Adequacy and feasibility of each model including the legal and institutional framework for the application in Albania; - Recommendations, building on the findings of the analysis in order to support the Albanian institutions in the preparations for OCV, to improve the identified challenges and shortcomings. - A roadmap for the CEC and other institutions describing the preparations processes for OCV, including inter alia the compilation of out of country Voters Lists, the rules for the registration of out of country voters, the rules for the voting procedures and the administration and counting process, the formula to include the ballots casted abroad in the final election results.
More specifically, the expert is expected to:
1) Participate in an online conference call (within a week from the contracting for this assignment), organized by the Presence’s point of contact to discuss the structure, content and format of the report; 2) Review and analyse relevant laws, bylaws, regulations, and any other material document and data in selected EU and SEE countries with focus on postal voting; 3) Collect information and conduct a comparative analysis of the OCV practices in selected countries of EU and SEE. The analysis should particularly focus on legal framework governing OCV in selected countries. Provide information on institutional framework and strategic framework on OCV including the role of relevant agencies. The countries to be included in the comparison will be decided with the suggestion of the expert and in cooperation with the Presence’s point of contact; 4) Conduct semi-structured virtual interviews with relevant stakeholders for the application of OCV (the Central Election Commission, the Ministry of Interior - General Directorate of Civil Status, Minister for Diaspora and other state institutions or group of interest as agreed with Presence’s point of contact. 5) Report biweekly to the Presence on challenges of operations and achieved progress based on the template provided by the Presence; 6) Draft a comprehensive, substantiated analysis (minimum 25 pages, Times New Roman theme font, 12 font size, 1.15 line spacing, English language) containing the findings of the analyses, and interviews described in the foregoing. The analysis must contain some key recommendations on actions for the implementation of the OCV in Albania, how to address identified problems pertaining to legal framework, institutional framework and procedural mechanisms. The report should include at minimum as follows: Executive summary Introduction and background Brief methodology followed for compiling the analysis Analysis of legal and institutional framework of each selected country Comparative analysis of the procedural mechanisms of each country Summary of main findings (resulting from the above stated analysis) related to the implementation of OCV in Albania. Key recommendations for actions from CEC and other institutions for OCV implementation, including the legal framework and internal regulations, etc. Identification of important areas for future engagement with respect to the OSCE PiA in the field, 7) Continuously liaise with and if necessary seek advice from the Presence’s point of contact throughout the discharge of the consultancy activities.
• Advanced university degree in law, political science, social science or related field; • A minimum of eight years of professional experience as researcher and/or practitioner in election issues ; • Proven experience in working and researching OCV regulation, methods and issues; • Experience in conducting comparative analysis of OCV practices; • Knowledge of international practices in the area; • Excellent communication and drafting skills in English; • Demonstrated gender awareness and sensitivity, and ability to integrate a gender perspective into tasks and activities; • Computer literate and able to adjust to online working
The payment for this consultancy will be in line with other similar assignment as per OSCE rates.
How to apply
All applications are due by 06 September 2020. For more detailed information on the structure and work of the OSCE Presence in Albania, please see: http:// www.osce.org/presence-in-albania. If you wish to apply for this position, please use the OSCE's online application link found under https://jobs.osce.org/ . The OSCE retains the discretion to re-advertise the vacancy or to cancel the recruitment. The OSCE is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious, ethnic and social backgrounds to apply. Please be aware that the OSCE does not request payment at any stage of the application and review process. Delayed nominations will not be considered.