Albanian election results stall

TIRANA, Albania

Vote counting has hit a snag due to serious disagreements between the major political parties in a couple of regions. The Central Election Commission (CEC) says that with 98% of votes tallied, the ruling coalition headed by the Democratic Party (DP) won 70 of the 140 seats in parliament Sunday.

The coalition says it actually won 71 seats, a claim disputed by the opposition Socialist Party (SP), which has accused rivals of manipulating the process. Its coalition, the Union for Change, won 66 seats, according to the CEC, while the leftist Socialist Movement for Integration garnered four. The latter still appears to be kingmaker, depending on which coalition it backs.

OSCE/ODIHR spokesman Jens-Hagen Eschenbacher said the elections partially met international standards. He explained that identifying voters through voters’ lists was a step forward, but added that group voting damaged the process. “There are a series of issues that need to be tackled in order for Albania to meet standards as an OSCE member,” Eschenbacher said.

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