Monday, September 7, 2009

Albania opposition party boycotts parliament

Associated Press


Albania's Socialist opposition boycotted an inaugural session of parliament Monday, claiming conservative Prime Minister Sali Berisha rigged his re-election victory in June 28 polls.

Berisha's Democratic Party and allies control 70 seats in the 140-member parliament, while the Socialists and their supporters have 66 seats. The leftist LSI party, with the four remaining seats, has agreed to join a coalition with Berisha's Democrats.

Berisha denies allegations of interfering in the vote counting process, but international monitors have cited irregularities before a final report from observers expected this month.

Albania, which joined NATO this year and is seeking EU membership, wants to improve its election record, which in the past has been marred by violence and irregularities.

The Socialists are demanding that parliament investigate the election fraud allegations, and pass legislation required for the process. Socialist leader Edi Rama said that would "secure the transparency of our claims about irregularities."

It was not immediately clear whether the Socialists would continue their boycott beyond Monday's opening session. The next session is Tuesday. Berisha is expected to announce his new 14-member Cabinet this week.

No comments: