Albania’s left-wing Socialist Party has secured a second mandate in a general election, winning a majority of seats in parliament, election results showed Tuesday. The election was seen as a key benchmark in the country’s bid to launch membership negotiations with the European Union. The Central Election Commission said that with all the ballots counted, the governing Socialists of Prime Minister Edi Rama had won 74 places in the 140-seat parliament.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Albania.
Albania’s prime minister, the artist turned politician Edi Rama, is poised to be returned to power following parliamentary elections seen as key to the country’s future prospects of EU membership. As ballots continued to be counted on Monday, an exit poll showed Rama and his Socialist party on course to win between 45% and 49% of the vote. If correct, the result would secure the Socialists control of more than half the 140-seat house. The opposition centre-right Democratic party, led by Lulzim Basha, was trailing with 34%. The poll, conducted by Italy’s IPR Marketing, had a margin of error of two percentage points.
Albanians are tensely awaiting election results which will be announced only on Monday after the long process of transporting votes from the polling station to the counters has taken place. On Sunday voting for the general elections began at 7am local time and continued until 8pm – one hour later than expected as polling station closures were postponed on account of the low turnout. The Central Electoral Commission, CEC, announced at 9pm that the turnout was around 45 per cent. Calculation shows that more than 1.5 million people voted out of a potential 3.4 million in the electoral rolls. In 2013 electoral turnout stood at around 53 per cent, and more than 1.7 million people cast their ballot.
If a foreign tourist, businessperson or other foreign visitor travelled through Albania at the moment, he or she would have no way of knowing that crucial parliamentary elections are taking place in the country on Sunday. There are no electoral posters or party flags, which usually cover the facades of every buildings ahead of elections, because this time political paraphernalia is allowed only during parties’ pre-election rallies. Yet even these rallies are unlike those before, as they have been passing off without heated speeches and a lot of noise, so as not to disturb people who are not interested in participating.
Albania’s parliament has approved a government shake-up as part of a compromise worked out between political parties before next month’s parliamentary election. The unanimous vote on Monday came after President Bujar Nishani issued decrees naming the opposition’s recommendations for deputy prime minister and six other ministerial posts: interior, education, health, social wellbeing, finance and justice. A three-month opposition boycott of parliament ended last week with an agreement between the governing Socialist Party and the opposition-led Democratic Party that was mediated by U.S. and European Union officials.
Albania’s president has decreed that a parliamentary election that was postponed as part of compromise among political parties will be held on June 25. The election had been scheduled for June 18, but was pushed back as part of the agreement mediated by U.S. and European Union officials. President Bujar Nishani moved the election back one week on Sunday to account for the compromise between the governing Socialist Party and the opposition-led Democratic Party.
Albania’s political leaders on Thursday failed for the second time to reach a compromise as the opposition has boycotted the parliament and the June 18 parliamentary election. Following intensive meetings with Western diplomats, Prime Minister Edi Rama, leader of the Socialist Party, and Lulzim Basha of the main opposition Democratic Party met again Thursday night. Rama said the government offered direct monitoring of the voting with a task force of opposition representatives accompanied by monitors from the European Union, the United States and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Albania’s election authorities have extended for a few days the registration period for candidates for the June polls in an attempt to get participation from the opposition. The Central Election Commission on Sunday said that political parties have until May 3 to register their candidates for the June 18 parliamentary elections.
Albanian opposition supporters blocked the country’s main roads Monday, demanding that a caretaker Cabinet be allowed to govern until the parliamentary election in June. Thousands of opposition supporters blocked five national crossroads for an hour. Opposition Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha said they were protesting “drug traffic, crime traffic, ballots traffic, corruption, money laundering traffic.” The opposition has said that it will boycott the parliamentary election.
Albania’s parliament voted for a new president without casting a single ballot on Wednesday, convening and then closing the first of five election rounds in less than 10 minutes because no candidate came forward to run. The bizarre non-election went ahead despite a boycott by the opposition Democratic Party, which quit parliament two months ago and has since insisted Tirana first needs to name a technocratic government. To ensure that the ceremonial figure of president is a compromise figure, the constitution requires a candidate to get three-fifths of the vote to win in the first three rounds. If no candidate wins, the rules then say a simple majority will do to pick the new head of state.