Albania’s two biggest political parties both claimed victory after the weekend parliamentary elections, amid conflicting exit polls and scattered violence that left one person dead.
Premier Sali Berisha’s Democrats won 42 percent of votes cast against 40 percent for the opposition Socialists led by Edi Rama, AlbPress news agency reported, citing an exit poll carried out by Tirana-based Civitas Albania. A separate exit poll by Italy’s IPR Marketing showed Rama ahead by 12 points at between 51.5 percent and 55.5 percent. A Socialist activist was shot dead in the northern town of Lac yesterday, the news agency said.
“The election was always expected to be closely fought, and the results contested, as political patronage is huge in Albania,” Timothy Ash, chief emerging-markets economist at Standard Bank Plc, said in a note to clients. “Both parties are pro-EU, but a question will be how long instability lasts.”
A victory for Rama, former major of Tirana, the capital, would end Berisha’s eight year-long premiership. The state commission, whose preliminary results indicated the opposition won twice as many votes in the capital city than Berisha’s coalition, is expected to release a near-complete national count later today.
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