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Albanian Times, 96-05-28

The Albanian Times (by AlbAmerica TRade & Consulting International) Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: AlbAmerica Trade & Consulting International <http://www.worldweb.net/~ww1054/>

Albanian Times
May 28, 1996


CONTENTS

  • [01] Opposition Calls for Mass Rally
  • [02] Observers Mixed About Poll
  • [03] Berisha Promises Respect for Opposition
  • [04] Italy Concerned Over Albanian Elections
  • [05] Albania:Post-Election Worries
  • [06] Quake Shakes Albanian South

  • [01] Opposition Calls for Mass Rally

    TIRANA, May 28 - Albania's opposition called for a mass demonstration in Tirana on Tuesday, setting a collision course with a government that says it will use force if necessary to break up the protest. The opposition has urged the mass action in the centre of the capital to protest against elections it says were a sham. The ex-communist country edged towards political chaos after nine opposition groups withdrew half way through the Balkan state's third multi-party polls on Sunday, alleging that the ruling Democrats had manipulated the ballot. ``We decided that tomorrow at 12 noon in Skanderbeg Square, all the parties call on their disillusioned electors...to come together and demonstrate for...clean and fair elections,'' said Neritan Ceka, speaking on behalf of six opposition parties, including the key Socialists.'' The Interior Ministry announced on Monday that the planned protest was illegal because it had not been approved three days in advance as required by law. The ministry said it would use force if necessary to ensure the law was upheld. If opposition deputies stick to their threats and refuse to take up their parliamentary seats, analysts said the legitimacy of parliament could be called into question, and with it the country's fledgling democracy. ``We do not reco gnise the outcome of the election. We will not take up our seats in parliament... because we cannot sit beside those who stole the vote,'' said Ceka, who is leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance. At 1930 GMT on Monday, the Central Electoral Commission, set up to organise the vote, said it had received less than half of the ballot papers from the country's 4,703 polling stations and was still unable to issue a provisional result. Long before the results were announced, Democratic Party supporters flooded city streets across the country in a non-stop victory bash which began on Sunday night. Most leftists have stayed out of public view. Despite repeated opposition statements denouncing the vote as a farce and reports from European observers confirming some election irregularities, there have been no reports of violence on the streets since the polls closed. (Albanian Times/Reuters)

    [02] Observers Mixed About Poll

    TIRANA, May 27 - European observers and delegates from a European security forum said on Monday they had seen many irregularities in Albania's general election in which the ruling Democrats claimed victory. Therese Boutsen, president of the Belgian young socialists, spoke of ``pressure and intimidation measures exerted by police against opposition members and supporters.'' Some people had sustained broken noses and ribs in confrontations with police, she was quoted as saying. A parliamentary delegation of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said that ``the state-owned media and some authorities were not entirely unbiased.'' Jean-Francois Vallin, secretary-general of the Socialist group in the European Parliament (PES), also said the election had been unfair due in part to the absence of opposition members in the polling commissions set up to organise the vote. ``The PES delegation has experienced several severe violations of the Albanian election laws,'' a statement said. However, a spokesman for the OSCE said the elections were held in a quiet and peaceful atmosphere and the electorate has expressed freely their will. "The officials at the polling stations, in general, performed their duties in an orderly manner and in accordance with the law," the spokesman said. (Albanian Times)

    [03] Berisha Promises Respect for Opposition

    TIRANA, May 27 - Albanian President Sali Berisha told a news conference in Tirana that the vote of the opposition in the Parliament will be fully respected. "They will have their own place in the Parlament despite their absurd decision." "With yesterday's vote everybody is a winner. The losers were a handful of Marxists," Berisha said. Berisha assured the Albanians that his government would use the election victory to consolidate democracy in Albania and to guarantee the development of Albania along a fast paced economic pattern. Berisha's office said on Monday that the elections were free and fair, but added that Albania needs more time to have a "perfect procedure." "The run-off elections will be free and fair and whoever wants may come and monitor them," the president's office said. (Albanian Times)

    [04] Italy Concerned Over Albanian Elections

    ROME, May 27 - European Union president Italy said on Monday it was following events in Albania closely after Sunday's general election in which the governing party claimed a big victory but the opposition branded the process a charade. ``Italy...hopes that all sides will demonstrate the utmost moderation, balance and constructivity in this delicate phase,'' the Italian foreign ministry said in a statement. Italy stressed it was making the statement ``also in its role as EU president'' and said it was waiting for the report of international election observers, due on Tuesday. The governing Democratic Party of conservative President Sali Berisha denounced the opposition election boycott as ``irresponsible and absurd.'' (Albanian Times/Reuters)

    [05] Albania:Post-Election Worries

    TIRANA, May 28 - Albania faces the worst crisis of its young democracy after an election denounced as illegal by nearly all the Balkan state's opposition, analysts said. Conservative President Sali Berisha and his ruling Democratic Party were feted by jubilant supporters as the clear winners in the parliamentary election minutes after polls closed on Sunday in more than 24 hours of celebrations. First results had been expected on Monday but election officials said they were more likely to come on Tuesday. While the Democrats prepared for a second term in government in what they predict will be a bigger landslide victory than the 62 percent they won in the last nationwide poll in 1992, opposition leaders met behind closed doors to mull their next steps after pulling out of Sunday's ballot. The Socialist Party of reformed communists and three other parties, representing 52 deputies out of the 56 in opposition in the last assembly, announced they would not take up their seats in the new parliament. ``I certainly did not expect this,'' said one Western analyst, visiting Tirana as an unoffical observer. ``It will look very strange if there are only Democrat deputies sitting in parliament with no opposition.'' The call to the streets raised the pervasive tension in the country at a time when Albania was considered to be one of the most stable corners of the volatile Balkan region. The crisis puts the United States and Europe in a dilemma. (Albanian Times/Reuters)

    [06] Quake Shakes Albanian South

    TIRANA, May 27 - A minor earthquake shook Albania's rural south on Monday, the state news agency ATA said. ATA, quoting Albania's Seismological Institute, said the quake measured 4.0 on the Richter scale, which could be powerful enough to cause serious structural damage in a heavily- populated area. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage to buildings, it added. The epicentre was reported near the town of Tepelena, about 150 km (95 miles) south of Tirana, where Albanian Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano is in jail on charges of embezzlement. (Albanian Times/Reuters)

    This material was reprinted with permission of AlbAmerica Trade & Consulting International. For more information on ATCI and the Albanian Times, please write to AlbaTimes@aol.com

    Copyright © ATCI, 1996


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