Albania holds parliamentary polls

Vote seen as crucial for country's bid for European Union membership.

    The Democrats led by Berisha, the prime minister, is locked in a close race with opposition Socialists [AFP]

    The election, with 4,000 candidates representing 39 parties and coalitions, is the seventh since the fall of communism in the 1990s.  
      
    Since the fall of communism, all elections in Albania have been disputed and marred by violence.

    The Balkans state has joined the Nato military alliance and took its first small step towards joining the European Union by submitting its membership application in April.

    Membership condition
      
    The EU has indicated that any progress towards membership for the predominantly Muslim nation of 3.6 million that remains one of Europe's poorest countries depends on holding peaceful elections that meet international standards.

    Some 3,000 monitors - including 500 foreigners - are to observe the voting process.
      
    At the final rally in Tirana, the capital, late on Friday, Berisha called on "all Albanians to be united behind our European dream, to unite in our effort to make Albania similar to the whole of Europe".
      
    Addressing a separate rally, his opponent Rama, the mayor of Tirana, said the "time for a big change is about to come".
      
    "The Socialists are those who will take Albanians towards Europe, for the Democrats have lost their chance," Rama said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    This part of 'The Crusades: An Arab Perspective' explores the birth of the Muslim revival in the face of the Crusades.

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    A photojournalist describes how she posed as a prostitute to follow the trade in human flesh.

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    It's time to change the way we talk and think about Africa.