Saturday, 23 October 2021

Tensions high as Albania heads into disputed local polls


TIRANA: Albania will on Sunday hold bitterly disputed municipal polls that have snowballed into a democratic crisis, with the opposition boycotting the vote and refusing to recognise its results.

The tense election run-up has seen bouts of violence as opposition supporters attacked polling stations around the country in a bid to destroy ballot materials, setting fire to two schools in the process.

Turmoil erupted in February when opposition politicians, from the right to the centre-left, walked out of parliament to launch street protests against Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama.

They accuse him of crime links and manipulating elections, which he denies. The dispute deepened when President Ilir Meta stepped in this month.

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