Leftist coalition sweeps to victory in Albania’s municipal elections

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 23, 2015 10:56

Story Highlights

  • The Socialist-led coalition has won the mayoral races in eight of the country’s ten largest municipalities by population, including in Tirana and Durres.

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Erion Veliaj will take over as the new mayor of the capital Tirana. Shkodra's Voltana Ademi is will become the first female mayor of a large city Vangjush Dako appears to have won reelection in Durres. (Photo: Handout)

Erion Veliaj (SP) will take over as the new mayor of the capital Tirana. Shkodra’s Voltana Ademi (DP) will become the first female mayor of a large city. Vangjush Dako (SP) appears to have won reelection in Durres. (Photo: Handout)

TIRANA, June 23 – Albania’s ruling leftist coalition has won the majority of the municipal races across the country, including all major cities except one, official results showed Tuesday with nearly all votes counted.

The Socialist-led coalition has won mayoral races in eight of the country’s ten largest municipalities by population, including the large cities of Tirana, Durres, Vlora, Elbasan and Korça. Their rivals, the Democratic Party-led are heading to victory in Shkodra, according the Central Elections Commission data with about 90 percent of the vote counted.

Erion Veliaj will take over as the new mayor of the capital Tirana after winning with a comfortable margin of about 53 percent of the vote. Vangjush Dako appears to have won reelection in Durres in a race that turned out to be less tight than expected. Shkodra’s Voltana Ademi will become the first female mayor of a large city in post-communist Albania. Several more female candidates have won in smaller municipalities.

The elections were marked by a turnout of about 48 percent, which is low by Albanian standards over the past 25 years. The percentage of resident voters is likely higher, however, as a third of the Albania’s population lives and works abroad, and the vast majority did not vote, unless they traveled to their hometowns to do so.

The voting process was calm, and despite some noted incidents and problems it did not rise to the tensions that often accompany Albanian elections, observers said, adding they would investigate several allegations of vote-buying.

The U.S. and EU ambassadors in the country had called on the voters to reject candidates they suspected of having a criminal past. In two medium-sized municipalities in particular focus, both Socialist candidates in question won the elections.

These local administrative elections were more important than in the past because they are the first to be conducted after the administrative reform that drastically cut the number of municipalities in Albania from 384 to 61 by merging smaller rural municipalities with nearby larger urban ones.

This story has been updated to bring the latest information about the voter turnout rate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 23, 2015 10:56