Reuters top ten news stories delivered to your inbox each day.
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
Albania votes, rivals trade accusations of cheating
Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:08am EDT
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
By Benet Koleka
TIRANA (Reuters) - Albania's election was mostly orderly, the OSCE said on Sunday, although the main parties accused each other of manipulation in a ballot the West hopes will be the Balkan nation's first free and fair election.
Polls predict a tight race between the ruling Democratic Party of Prime Minister Sali Berisha, one of the dominant leaders of the post-communist era, and the main opposition Socialist Party led by Edi Rama, the mayor of Tirana.
"So far it has been relatively calm," Robert Bosch, head of the Albanian office of Europe's main human rights and security watchdog the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), told Reuters.
"There are some little irregularities but this time less than in past elections," he said.
A brief exchange of charges of manipulation between the two parties prompted President Bamir Topi, the U.S. envoy and Bosch to urge Albanians to vote calmly and not succumb to pressure.
The West sees Sunday's vote as a test of Albania's democratic maturity and its suitability to join the European bloc. Albania joined the NATO military alliance in April and the same month applied for European Union membership.
"Our partners' have focused their attention on the correctness of our elections. They will be decisive for the future of Albania. Surely, the parties should be more careful," Topi said.
"People should vote freely so that we realize for the very first time in the history of the Albanian transition free, correct, transparent and uncontested elections," he said.
U.S. Ambassador John Withers appealed to all to vote individually and not "succumb to any outside pressure."
"I believe very strongly that the importance of these elections is that they be free, fair, transparent and that the will of the Albanian people not the aspirations of the political parties be the fundamental principle," Withers said.
Earlier, the Central Election Commission said the voting was going well, but cited scattered problems including the lack of marker ink to make sure people do not vote twice, delays in starting the vote and discords over ID checking devices.
At one polling station in the mountainside town on Kruja, famed as the 15th-century stronghold of resistance to Ottoman invasion, a Reuters correspondent saw two separate incidents of men casting ballots for elderly women dressed in black.
A official who was putting ink on voters' thumbs to ensure they could not vote a second time said the practice was allowed, especially when the elderly had poor eyesight.
International observers say family voting for others is not allowed, but there were other instances reported elsewhere.
Outside the simple Kruja schoolhouse where locals lined up to get their ballots, Sajmir Laci, 19, part of a generation born after communism, had voted for the first time. Continued...
View article on single page
Iran's presidential election
Aftermath of Iran's election
Up-to-the-minute news, photos and video of the aftermath of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed election in Iran. Full Coverage
More International News
Iran sparks new row with Britain over election
Honduras police fire tear gas at pro-government protest
Life after U.S. pullout brings worries for Iraqis
Taliban ambush Pakistani army convoy
Barak open on Israel settlement freeze before U.S. trip
More International News...
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Slideshow
Most Popular on Reuters
Travel Picks: World's 10 most legendary bars
Doctor queried in Michael Jackson death | Video
Ruth Madoff Relinquishes Her Fortune
Porsche fumes at VW, Lower Saxony "extortion"
Michael Jackson set to make chart history, again
North Korea heir to be puppet of old guard clique
U.S. beef recall expanded, 18 illnesses suspected
"Transformers" sequel tramples on box office
Iran sparks new row with Britain over election | Video
Hello Goodbye: Jackson's Beatles rights at risk
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
Berlusconi escort girl burgled
Fans pay tribute to Jackson
Jackson's tangled finances
Deadly building collapse in China
US reverses Afghan drug policy
Jackson fans pay tribute
Militants killed in Karachi gunfight
Two die in Thailand from H1N1
Jackson's musical legacy
Search ends for Air France victims
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
We want to hear from you
Join the Reuters Consumer Insight Panel and help us get to know you better
Please take a moment to complete our survey
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.