Albania: Ballots counted one day after closing of polls

A day after the parliamentary elections were held in Albania, the ballots are being counted on Monday.

Source: Tanjug
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The first results point to a slight advantage of the opposition coalition led by the Socialist Party.

Both Socialist leader Edi Rama, and Prime Minister and leader of the right-wing coalition Sali Berisha, claimed as the polling stations closed on Sunday that they had secured victory.

Rama today called on Berisha to concede defeat, and added that with more than 20 percent of the votes counted, his coalition was on course to win at least 80 of the 140 seats in parliament, Reuters reported.

The vote was marked by an armed conflict in which an opposition activist was killed, while a candidate of the ruling Democratic Party and one other person were injured.

The turnout was 53 percent of the 3.3 million eligible voters, according to preliminary estimates of the Central Election Commission.

Official results are not expected before Tuesday, while reports of some 400 international observers will probably be released later on Monday.

The deadly polling station incident was condemned by the EU ambassador in Tirana, Ettore Sequi, who said that "violence is not acceptable and will not be tolerated."

"These elections are a key test of democratic maturity of the country and test the functioning of the Albanian institutions," said Sequi.

Since 2009, Albania has twice been denied its request to be made a candidate for EU membership.

The union said that the country had not done enough to fight corruption and to advance democratic reforms, including the holding of elections in accordance with international and European standards.

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