Friday, May 20, 2011

Tension builds in Albania by new accusations of fraud in elections

Tension builds in Albania, one of the poorest countries in Europe. For two years, is mired in a deep political crisis, which worsened in January when four demonstrators were killed socialist security guards in a protest to seek the resignation of Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, accused of corruption and fraud general election in 2009.

Berisha won by a narrow margin between the socialist accusations of electoral fraud. On Thursday, protesters clashed in Tirana socialist with police and blocked several roads in protest against the fraud that was also considered in the municipal elections of May 8. Clashes were reported at the headquarters of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), where several demonstrators were injured and one officer was hospitalized, police sources said.

The Socialists, in opposition, accusing the CEC, controlled by the ruling Democratic Party (PD), to manipulate the vote in Tirana for the candidate of the Executive. With the building surrounded by hundreds of police and special units inside the Election Commission on Wednesday began a recount of the votes for mayor of Tirana, which had been placed in the wrong ballot box.

This initiative, taken by members of the PD in the electoral committee has changed the outcome against the Socialist Party leader Edi Rama, who was seeking a fourth term and before the opening of those ballots was 10 votes ahead. "The CEC stole the result and our victory," said Rama, after announcing it has filed a complaint for "falsification of results" against four members of the PD in the electoral committee.

The Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, has shown strong commitment to recount all the votes of the Albanians and Rama accused of wanting to impose his victory at all costs. Socialist demonstrators blocked for several hours the main highway between Tirana and Durres, burning tires and paralyzed the vehicular traffic on several roads connecting the capital with the south.

The protests were organized after the appeals of the Socialist leaders to "come out on the streets in defense of democracy and justice" as the only way out. Rama on Thursday also urged the international community to "do not drop Albania on the precipice." Due to the tense situation, the European Commission president, José Manuel Durão Barroso, has decided to cancel a planned visit on Friday to the capital.

The EC has called for political leaders to solve problems by democratic means within the institutions and not "endanger the lives of people."

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