Albanian party agrees to join government after split vote

6th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Former prime minister Meta added he had taken the decision to join Berisha's centre-right Democratic Party, in power before the vote, to avert a political crisis.

Tirana -- A centre-left Albanian party accepted Saturday Prime Minister Sali Berisha's invitation to join him and form a government after closely-fought general elections last weekend ended in a split vote.

"I accept Mr Berisha's invitation," said Ilir Meta, leader of the Socialist Party for Integration (SPI).

Former prime minister Meta added he had taken the decision to join Berisha's centre-right Democratic Party, in power before the vote, to avert a political crisis.

"I want to become a stabilising factor which is going to help Albania integrate into the European Union," Meta stressed, referring to the important role the elections may play in helping the country join the EU.

The premier invited the SPI to form an administration nearly a week after Albanians went to the polls last Sunday.

Neither his Democrats nor the main opposition Socialist Party won enough votes to form a government on their own, handing Meta a key role.

Preliminary results from the Central Electoral Commission showed Berisha's Democratic Party won 46.81 percent of the vote against 45.42 percent for the Socialists led by Tirana Mayor Edi Rama.

The SPI received 5.56 percent of the votes and its collaboration with Berisha's party allows a majority to be formed in the country's parliament.

Running clean elections was considered a crucial test of Albania's future chances of integration into the EU.

The vote came almost three months after the former Stalinist state joined the NATO military alliance and took its first step towards joining the EU by filing for membership.

The main opposition Socialist Party, who came a close second to the Democrats, have complained of irregularities and fraud in the ballot.

Their claims were rubbished by Berisha as "absurd" and monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) gave the vote cautious praise.

The body said there were still violations, however, in spite of the overall improvement.

AFP/Expatica

 

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