Albanian exit polls show Berisha en route to another term

Conservative Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha appeared set to win another term in office, exit polls indicated shortly after voting ended in Albanian parliamentary elections Sunday. Projections by the Gani Bobi Institute gave the coalition led by Berisha’s Democratic Party an absolute majority of 50.3 per cent, with a 1.5 per cent margin of error. Exit polls by other groups also gave the party the lead, but not yet an absolute majority.

The institute projected 42.3 per cent of the votes for the main opposition group, the Socialists, led by Tirana Mayor Edi Rama. Its exit polls questioned some 25,000 of the 3 million registered voters.

Such an outcome translates to 76 of the 140 legislative seats for Berisha’s Democrats, against 60 for the Socialist Party.

The IPR Marketing agency and US-based Zogby International also gave Berisha and his party a safe lead, though without predicting an absolute majority.

Zogby’s results indicated 69 seats for the Democrats – meaning they were just two short of a majority with 12 seats still undetermined.

Election day passed without the big problems that many had feared after violence, including two fatal incidents, marred the campaign.

Albania joined NATO in April, but needed to organize elections at a higher standard than in the past to unblock its bid for membership of the European Union.

“I can’t say that these elections were perfect, because no election process is perfect, but these elections were far better than any other before,” Berisha said after voting ended.

“Through these elections, the Albanians sign their European future,” he had said earlier, after casting his vote.


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