Albanian parties finally agree election rules

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The Independent Online
Albania's political parties have agreed to go ahead with the general election called for 29 June following a deal reconciling President Sali Berisha's Democratic Party and the opposition, after intense international pressure. The opposition parties agreed to recognise the electoral law steam-rollered through parliament by the Democratic Party last week. In return, President Berisha agreed to relinquish his right to nominate the country's local and national electoral commissions - a major concession since the overwhelming presence of Democratic Party officials at polling stations in last year's elections was a major cause of vote-rigging. Responsibility for the commissions will now rest with the all-party national unity government.

Franz Vranitzky, the international envoy who helped broker the 11th-hour deal, said yesterday the parties had also agreed on equal access to the media. Andrew Gumbel