29/06/2009 - Results
The Prime Minister's Democratic Party (PDSH) is said to have won the general elections on 28th June in Albania.
According to an exit poll undertaken in 12 of the country's regions by Gani Boni, broadcast by the television channel TV Klan, the Democratic Party is due to win 47.5% of the vote ahead of its main rival, the Socialist Party (PSSH) led by Mayor of Tirana, Edi Rama, who is due to win 38.8% of the vote. The Socialist Movement for Integration (LSPI) of Ilir Meta is due to win 6.5% of the vote.
Another exit poll by the IPR Marketing institute credits Sali Berisha's Democratic Party with a four point lead over his socialist rivals.
Finally a third poll by Zogby International also declares the head of government's PDSH winner of the election.
Turnout was high rising to over 60% in comparison with 56% during the previous elections on 3rd July 2005.
The election took place without any major incident being recorded. Both of the country's main political parties acknowledged the validity of the vote and its result. "The general elections took place in much better conditions than any other we have organized to date. There is no winner or loser in these elections since European Albania is the country for all Albanians,
" declared Prime Minister Sali Berisha.
For his part opposition leader Edi Rama said that "in spite of a series of infringements and unpleasant details in various parts of Albania the goal of guaranteeing the electoral process was achieved on the whole. It was democratic and normal. I agree with Sali Berisha in saying that there are no losers in this election because it is European Albania that won,
" concluded the mayor of the capital.
To combat fraud a new electoral law was adopted in December 2008 thereby attributing an electoral card to each voter who did not have a passport; they had to produce this card at the polling station on 28th June to fulfil their civic duty. The Home Minister did however admit five days before the general election that 256,794 of the 3.1 million voters did not have a secure identity document. "Sorting will be monitored for the first time in a transparent manner on screens that are installed by the Central Electoral Commission,
" indicated Prime Minister Sali Berisha.
Around 3,000 observers including 450 from abroad were present to control the election. Some 5,500 policemen were also deployed to ensure security. "Until now everything has been relatively calm. Some minor infringements were noted but less than during the previous elections,
" indicated Robert Bosch, responsible for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Albania during the afternoon of 28th June. "I am very satisfied that the election took place responsibly,
" stressed the Ambassador for the USA in Albania John Withers.
The campaign was tumultuous. At the beginning of May Socialist MP Fatmir Xhindi was killed in front of his house in Roskovec (120 km south of Tirana) and on 12th June a Democratic Party supporter Artan Zeka was murdered by a Socialist Party member, Skender Balla in the village of Qeurret in the region of Durres 30 km to the south-west of the capital.
65 year old Sali Berisha, a cardiologist by profession was the founder of the Democratic Party. The leader of the movement that led to the fall of the communist regime established by Enver Hoxha in April 1991, he has occupied a central place in the political arena since then. Elected president of the Republic of Albania in 1992 after his party's victory in the country's first free elections he governed with an iron hand. Against witch hunts, he brought dozens of former communist leaders to justice for crimes including genocide. "I was against the communist regime because I felt partly responsible for the dictatorship,
" he then declared.
In 1997, he was driven from power in the wake of riots that irrupted after the collapse of the so-called financial pyramid system. Encouraged by Sali Berisha, around 70% of Albanian families had placed their savings in this system which offered interest rates rising to 100%. The 1997 riots that led the country almost to civil war caused the deaths of 2000.
In September 2005, Sali Berisha became Prime Minister after his party won the general elections on the previous 3rd July.
According to the most recent polls the Democratic Party is due to win 69 of the 140 seats in the Assembly of the Republic, the only chamber in the Albanian Parliament ie two less than the 71 necessary to enjoy absolute majority. The Socialist Party is due to win 55 seats and the Socialist Movement for Integration, four.
The remaining 11 seats have not yet been attributed.