Tension as Albania goes to the polls

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Albania is set for an election like no other since emerging from half a century of communism in 1990.

Prime Minister Edi Rama has campaigned hard for Sunday’s local polls,  even though his Socialist candidates face almost no opposition at the ballot box.

The main opposition is boycotting but has urged militants to remain peaceful. Some local opposition mayors have used their powers to stop the use of public buildings – such as schools – as polling stations.

Albanian armed forces guard embassies ahead of nationwide local elections
Albanian armed forces guard outside the German and the Czech embassy in Tirana, Albania. According to reports, Embassies told their citizens to avoid polling stations amid fears that differences of opinion could turn violent. Some 3.5 million Albanians are eligible to vote in the local elections for mayors, town hall councils, or parliaments. Albania’s President Meta tried to cancel the nationwide local elections scheduled for 30 June in response to the opposition boycott, while Prime Minister Rama insists the elections will go ahead as scheduled. Photo: EPA-EFE/Malton Dibra

President Ilir Meta has issued a decree to postpone the poll, but Mr Rama has rejected it and has started moves to impeach the president, once an ally.

For months now, the opposition has held protests demanding the resignation of the prime minister and new general elections.

They accuse Mr Rama of previous electoral fraud and corruption – which he denies.


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