Stay tuned for all of the latest developments, election results and reactions as Albanian citizens head to the polls to elect a new government.
Voters in Albania head to polling stations on Sunday to elect 140 members of a new parliament after a tense campaign marked by heated polemics and violence.
A total of 5,199 polling stations opened on Sunday at 7am for the country’s parliamentary elections with 3,588,869 registered voters. Polling stations will be staffed with 36,393 poll workers.
People in the country who are currently sick with COVID-19 will not be able to vote, since there is no appropriate safety infrastructure in place for them to cast a ballot. Prime Minister Edi Rama has called on them to “stay home” for election
The elections will be held under news amendments to the Electoral Code, which introduced electronic voter identification and counting in one voting centre. The 2020 amendments also introduced new provisions for security in voting centres and a gender quota of 30 percent for candidate lists.
Deep polarisation in the previously elected Parliament culminated in the departure of opposition members in February 2019 due to claims of voter fraud and vote buying in the 2017 elections and high-level government corruption. The upcoming elections will highlight the ruling and main opposition parties’ divisions over electoral reform, emigration, corruption, unemployment and political interference with the media.
Edi Rama, the Socialist Party chief and Prime Minister, is seeking a third mandate running the government. His main rival, the Democratic Party’s, Lulzim Basha, seeks a first mandate after eight years in opposition.
The last days of the campaign were marred by serious violence and one fatality in the central town of Elbasan, after supporters of the two biggest parties clashed on March 14, when, ironically, both Rama and Basha were visiting to celebrate “Summer Day”.
Due to the failure to adopt the necessary legislation, the country’s diaspora numbering around 1.8 Albanians – a huge figure for a country with 3.5 million people, which includes those living abroad – will not be able to