Albania swings leftward

Reuters this evening (Monday morning in Europe) is reporting that the centre-left opposition is headed for a strong victory in yesterday’s election. It says “An official projection, based on around 20 percent of votes counted, gave the Socialists 84 seats and the Democrats 56.” In the last parliament the opposing alliances had 70 seats each.

(If you fancy your skills in Albanian, you can work through the official results here; there doesn’t appear to be a summary page, so you need to go through each of the twelve provinces separately.)

Assuming the results hold up, Socialist Party leader Edi Rama will become prime minister at his second attempt. The elections were again marked by violence, with an opposition activist killed in a shootout yesterday, but a decisive result should offer less opportunity for disorder than the cliffhanger of 2009.

Despite the fact that Albania is some distance out of the European mainstream it appears to have participated in the general swing to the left that has been going on for the last year or two. Rama’s task will be to try to put his country firmly on track for membership in the European Union – something that both parties are agreed on.

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