Violence, Claims of Vote Rigging Overshadow Albanian Poll
Violent incidents marred voting in Albania on Sunday as the country's 2.5 million voters began casting their ballots in a legislative poll expected to be a tight race between the ruling Socialists (PS) and the opposition Democratic Party (PD).
Two people were shot and injured at a polling station on the outskirts of the Albanian capital Tirana as voting got under way, electoral commission chief Ramazan Shulku said.
One voter and one poll official were injured, he said.
The incident was reported after opposing party supporters clashed, with one witness saying that the body guard of a Socialist Party deputy started the incident.
Voting was also disrupted when armed men entered a polling station and set fire to voting materials in the northern town of Shllak, an opposition stronghold, government officials said.
Polling stations opened at 8:00 am (0600 GMT), with the country's electorate being asked to choose from 1,114 candidates representing 38 parties vying for 140 parliamentary seats.
The Socialist leader and Prime Minister Ilir Meta, accompanied by his wife, voted in the outskirts of Tirana, saying, "today is the day of the new European Albania." – TIRANA (AFP)
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