Albania has utilized 7 different electoral systems since the end of single-party Communist rule.
ALBANIA 1 (1991)
Albanians elected 250 members to the Constitutional Assembly by the single-member plurality system.
ALBANIA 2 (1992)
In the first round of the 1992 elections, electors cast a single vote used to determine both outcomes in the 110 single-member districts (SMDs) and the allocation of 40 top-up or party list seats at the national level off of closed party lists.
In the 100 SMDs, candidates won election only if they received more than 50% of the valid vote. Otherwise, the top two candidates proceeded to the second round in which the candidates with the most votes prevailed.
Parties needed to win 4% of the national vote to be eligible to receive list mandates. Any SMD seats won by non-qualifying parties were subtracted from the total of 140 seats. The largest remainder system of proportional representation with a Hare quota was used to determine the preferred allocation of the remaining seats. The 40 top-up seats were allocated to bring each party up to the indicated total number of seats. Put another way, if the party vote indicated that a party should receive Y total seats but had already won X constituency seats (with X > 0), then it received Y – X top-up seats. Parties that won Y seats according to the party vote but had received no constituency seats just received Y seats.
The following table shows the allocation process for 1992:
Only three parties beat the 4% threshold to qualify for party list seats but 3 SMD seats were won by parties that did not qualify. Accordingly, the calculation of the ideal distribution according to the largest remainder system with a Hare quota was limited to 137 seats (140 – 3 = 137) rather than the total of 140 seats. The Hare quota equaled 11,340–the valid votes cast for the three qualifying parties divided by 137. Parties first received seats for multiples of full Hare quotas with the one remaining seat awarded to the SDP as it had the largest remainder of votes not used towards a full quota, as revealed by looking to the right of the decimal point in the Quotas column. The number of list seats awarded to each qualifying party equaled the total seats merited minus the number of SMD seats that the party won.
ALBANIA 3 (1996)
In 1996, Albania utilized a mixed electoral system with two votes, one for a candidate in a SMD and one for a closed party list. Among the 140 total seats, 115 were filled by the two-round electoral system based on the candidate votes in SMDs and 25 allocated proportionately according to the party vote without regard to the outcome of the SMDs.
In the first round in the 115 SMDs, candidates won election only if they received more than 50% of the valid vote. Otherwise, the top two candidates proceeded to a second round in which the candidates with the most votes prevailed.
The 25 party list seats were allocated using the largest remainder system of proportional representation with a Hare quota. In order to qualify to receive list seats, individual parties had to gain 4% of the party vote, and coalitions of two or more parties needed 8%. The 25 PR seats were allocated were non-compensatory and distributed without regard to the number of seats won by parties in SMDs.
ALBANIA 4 (1997)
The system utilized in 1997 was the same as in 1996 with two key exceptions. First, the number of party list seats rose to 40, bringing the total number of seats to 155 because the number of SMDs remained unchanged. Second, the threshold to qualify for party list seats was reduced to 2%.
ALBANIA 5 (2001)
In 2001, Albania utilized a mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system with two votes, one for a candidate in a SMD and one for a closed party list. Among the 140 total seats, 100 were filled by the two-round electoral system based on the candidate votes in SMDs and 40 were top-up or supplemental seats designed to render the overall allocation proportionate to the party vote.
In the first round in the 100 SMDs, candidates won election only if they received more than 50% of the valid vote. Otherwise, the top two candidates proceeded to a second round in which the candidates with the most votes prevailed.
The largest remainder system of PR with a Hare quota was used to determine the preferred overall allocation of all 140 seats (excluding any SMD seats won by non-qualifying parties) across the country based on the party vote. The 40 top-up seats were allocated to bring each party up to the indicated total number of seats. Put another way, if the party vote indicated that a party should receive Y total seats but had already won X constituency seats (with X > 0), then it received Y – X top-up seats. Parties that won Y seats according to the party vote but had received no constituency seats just received Y seats. Parties required 2.5% and coalitions 4% of the valid vote to qualify to receive supplemental party list mandates.
The process was more complicated if a party had won more constituency mandates than the party vote indicated that it should hold overall (i.e. X > Y). These parties did not receive any top-up seats and the party votes were used again to determine a new proportionate allocation of seats. This recalculation excluded those votes and seats won by the party (or parties) that won an excess of constituency mandates as well as the votes of those parties that did not gain any seats according to the original allocation. The process might have needed to be repeated if other parties gained constituency mandates in excess of this new allocation.
In 2001, the two major parties attempted to circumvent the proportional intent of the MMP system by having some SMD candidates file legally as independents even though they remained unofficially closely linked with a party. As any seats won by independents did not count towards a party or coalition’s total entitlement according to the party vote, this tactic allowed parties or coalitions to win more list seats at the expense of other parties (OSCE 2001 Report: 5).
Additionally, the necessity of repeated polling for the proportional ballot in some areas allowed the Socialists to call successfully on their supporters to vote for allied parties that otherwise would not have crossed the legal threshold to receive list seats. As a result, these parties passed the threshold and the Socialist-led alliance gained more list seats. Each of 3 allied parties won 2 seats for a total of 6 (OSCE 2001 Report: 16-17).
Electoral Code of the Republic of Albania, Law. No. 8069 dated May 8, 2000
NDI Pre-Election Statement (14 May 2001)
2001 Elections, First Round, OSCE Statement of Preliminary Findings (25 June 2001)
2001 Elections, Second Round, OSCE Statement of Preliminary Findings (8 July 2001)
2001 Elections, Third Voting Day OSCE Statement of Preliminary Findings (22 July 2001)
2001 Elections, OSCE Final Report (11 October 2001)
ALBANIA 6 (2005)
As in 2001, Albania utilized a mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system with two votes, one for a candidate in a SMD and one for a closed party list. Among the 140 total seats, 100 were filled by the single-member plurality electoral system based on the candidate votes in SMDs and 40 were top-up or supplemental seats designed to render the overall allocation proportionate to the party vote. Other than a switch from a two-round system to single-member plurality system for SMDs, the allocation process remained the same. The same legal thresholds (2.5% for parties and 4% for coalitions) applied to qualify for list seats.
Any top-up seats earned were allocated based on a closed party list established at the national level. Nevertheless, parties were allowed “to submit to the CEC internal party agreements for re-ordering mandate recipients according to party-stipulated criteria” (OSCE 2005 Report: 5). “The internal party agreements often contained formulas that took into account the electoral performance of the party/coalition list or of individual candidates in specific election zones. However, the SP and the DP submitted electoral lists with a fixed ranking of candidates” (OSCE 2005 Report: 5).
In 2005, the two leading parties circumvented the proportional intent of the MMP system by encouraging their supporters to cast their party vote for an allied party that won no SMD seats. While 83.5% of constituency votes in 2005 went to either the Democrats or the Socialists, only 16.6% of party votes went to these same two parties. This strategy allowed smaller parties aligned with the two major parties to win more seats at the expense of other parties unaligned with the two major parties.
The following table reveals the allocation process for list seats in 2005:
The Democrats (DP) and Socialists (SP) together won 98 of the 100 SMD seats; an additional seat was won by an independent (i.e. with no affiliated party list). The initial Hare quota used to allocate party list seats equaled 8867–the total number of votes cast for all qualifying parties or coalitions (i.e. above the threshold of 2.5% or 4%) divided by 139 (140 minus the 1 SMD gained by the independent). The red column shows the number of multiples of this quota won by each qualifying party. Both the DP and SP won SMDs far in excess of their entitlement according to the party vote.
Accordingly, a second calculation was needed to allocate the list seats with the party votes and the constituency seats won by the DP and the SP (along with the sole seat won by an independent) excluded. The new Hare quota equaled 24760–the total votes cast for all parties or coalitions above the threshold except the DP and the SP divided by 41 (140 minus the 56 SMDs won by DP, the 42 SMDs won by SP, and the 1 SMD won by an independent).
The first column in blue shows the multiple of the Hare quota won by each party or coalition. Seats were then awarded first for full multiples of the quota with the remaining 3 mandates given to the parties with the largest remainders (i.e. most votes left unused already toward a full Hare quota). The second-to-last column in blue indicates the total seat entitlement. The number of list seats given to each party equaled this total minus the number of SMDs won. In this case, SMI had won a single constituency seat, so it received 4 list mandates. As the other parties had won no SMDs, they received all of their seats as list mandates.
ALBANIA 7 (2009-)
Albania switched to a proportional system with seats allocated within 12 regional constituencies (i.e. Albania’s counties) for the 2009 elections. In order to qualify to receive any seats within a regional constituency, a single party must win 3% and a coalition 5% of the vote within the constituency. Seats are distributed to winning parties and coalitions by the d’Hondt highest average method of proportional representation. Mandates won by coalitions are distributed to all parties within the coalition (regardless of whether the party met the threshold) by the Sainte-Laguë highest average system of proportional representation. Lists are closed with candidates elected in order off the party list until the party has run out of mandates.
2009 OSCE Needs Assessment Mission Report (16-19 March 2009)
2009 OSCE Parliamentary Elections 28 June 2009 Final Report
2013 OSCE Needs Assessment Mission Report (11-14 March 2013)
2013 OSCE Parliamentary Elections 23 June 2013 Final Report
Here is the apportionment of seats to regions in 2009, 2013 and 2017:
Map of Albania’s Counties
Sources: “IRI Observation Report on the Albanian Parliamentary Elections of May 26, 1996” (International Republican Institute); “Albania’s Parliamentary Elections of 1997” (Washington, DC: Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, CSCE, July 1997); “Republic of Albania, Parliamentary Elections 24 June-19 August 2001” (Warsaw: OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, 11 October 2011); “Republic of Albania, Parliamentary Elections 3 July 2005, OSCE/ODHIR Election Observation Mission Report” (Warsaw: OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, 7 November 2005); Fisnik Korenica and Dren Doli, “The 2009 parliamentary election in Albania,” Electoral Studies 20(2011), 223-6; Dorothée de Nève, “Albania” in Dieter Nohlen and Philip Stöver, eds., Elections in Europe (Nomos 2010), 125-48).