Sir: Last May I was privileged to be one of the two UK observers sent to monitor the Albanian parliamentary elections as part of the team from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Once we had witnessed the extent of vote-rigging and intimidation, a number of observers made the unprecedented move of announcing there and then that the elections were fundamentally flawed. I was asked to be their spokesman.
The events of the past few weeks have their origins in that rigged poll. It was so blatant, so naive, and so widespread, that few Albanians could have any further respect for their "elected" parliamentarians, or the security forces who openly supported the ruling Democratic Party. No wonder then, that when the ill-conceived pyramid schemes collapsed, the people should vent their anger against the government.
The irony is that perhaps Sali Berisha was the best man to modernise his pitifully poor country. Many believe he would have won the elections last May without resorting to vote-rigging. Instead he, and his party, could not resist the temptation. He has now no legitimate right to stay, other than to form a coalition government with the opposition parties, dissolve parliament, and ensure that ensuing elections are free and fair.
Hereford Liberal Democrats