Albania passes census law
Friday, 08 July 2011

Albanian MPs passed late Thursday the Law on Census of population and households, due to be implemented in October, media reports from Tirana.

The law was adopted in the absence of the opposition socialists, who boycott the Parliament due to events over the elections of Tirana mayor.

Minister for Innovation and ICT Genc Pollo, who is also president of the State Census Commission, said the law met all European standards.

"Albanian citizens will be able to freely express their ethnic and religious affiliation and mother tongue. However, they are not forced to answer these sensitive questions", added Polo.

Representatives of Macedonians in Albania say the law's adoption is good from a political standpoint, but they do not believe in its realistic implementation, as do other minorities, taking into consideration the intimidation and pressure by state institutions, political parties and several NGOs.

"We will do everything to convince Macedonians they should not be afraid to declare what they are, since this is the only way to prove our number. Thus, we would require fulfillment of our legitimate rights as loyal citizens of Albania", said Vasil Sterjovski of the Macedonian Party.

According to him, efforts will focus on meeting the joint request with other minorities over the engagement of census takers from the minorities, as well as members of minorities in municipal census commissions.

In the Balkans, although members of the EU, both Bulgaria and Greece are the remaining nations that do not allow its citizens to express their nationality/ethnicity, rather only their religion.

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