EU acts at last over poll fraud in Albania
Saturday 01 June 1996
Even the European Union unexpectedly reversed its previous policy by threatening punitive measures if President Sali Berisha does not organise a rerun of voting in constituencies where international observers reported major violations of Albania's electoral law.
The United States State Department, meanwhile, issued its second statement in three days yesterday when it expressed its "serious concerns".
A final, tougher, statement is due as early as today, according to United States officials in Tirana.
The international turnaround is a slap in the face for Mr Berisha, who had looked like getting away with the abuses and securing an overwhelming parliamentary majority for his Democratic Party.
Yesterday's international response now casts a pall over tomorrow's planned run-off round of elections in the 10 constituencies where no clear result was deemed to have emerged last time.
Nearly all Albania's opposition parties have vowed to boycott the event.
Clearly, the vote-rigging and the police brutality on the streets of Tirana that followed it were too much even for those European countries that had supported Mr Berisha every step of the way through the election campaign, including Germany.
They may also have been swayed by the behaviour of the opposition, which has refrained from holding public demonstrations in the past two days in the interests of maintaining public order.
"We were advised by the Americans that it would be in our interests to stay off the streets," explained Kastriot Islami, of the main opposition party, the Socialists.
Opposition groups have instead been advocating dialogue, including plans to set up an interim round-table government represented by all parties in the run-up to new elections.
The opposition in the former hard-line Stalinist state run by the notorious Enver Hoxha, has not given up all forms of protest, however, and yesterday a number of centrist parliamentary candidates began a three-day hunger strike.
There was no immediate reaction yesterday from Mr Berisha, who has so far insisted the elections were fair and that the country would go forward on the basis of their results.
In an interview which the President gave to the Associated Press on Thursday, he nevertheless indicated he would be willing to engage in dialogue with the opposition.
He added that he would want other parties to play an active role in Albanian public life.
Top Un: North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un is Maverick as he poses with all-female pilot crew of the Anti-Air Force Unit
Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
Top 10 most expensive cities in the world: Singapore named costliest place to live – but what about London?
Oscar Pistorius trial: Athlete 'cheated on me' with Reeva Steenkamp, former girlfriend Samantha Taylor tells Pretoria court
Channel 4 announces two-hour TV show to be broadcast 'Live from Space' later this month
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 The future of sex: The first female condoms were derided, mistrusted and shunned - but will their modern counterparts catch on?
- 2 South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
- 3 Italian pensioner hires an escort who turns out to be his son's girlfriend
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role to marry Natasha Richardson
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...