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Election Fever

So it seems that there might at last be a date for Albania's municipal elections. Under the constitution, elections are supposed to take place from 30 to 60 days after the end of the existing mandate. This means that elections should be held between 20 December and 20 January.

Unfortunately, though perhaps unsurprisingly, the government and opposition have been unable to agree on a date. The Socialist opposition has been pushing for a date in the spring, claiming that bad weather in January might disrupt turn out in rural or mountainous areas of the country. This is true, but they can hardly blame the government for the weather.

In the absence of agreement, the President has stepped in and is proposing two possible dates in January - 14th and 21st. The Socialists have indicated that they will drop their objections and accept the President's decision - though it is hard to see what choice they have.

As well as seats in Albania's municipalities, the position of Mayor of Tirana is up for grabs. This will be the most closely watched contest in the country. The incumbent, Edi Rama, is addition to his role as mayor of the city, is also chairman of the Socialist Party, and his and Prime Minister Sali Berisha's dislike for one another is no secret.

If the Democrats can unseat Rama, it will mean a lot more than merely taking the Mayor's office in the city. Both government and opposition are aware of the implications of the mayoral race and are responding accordingly. All the opposition parties on the left have agreed to endorse Rama (below left) as their official candidate. On the right, all the parties in the governing coalition have also agreed to back a single candidate. This is to be the youthful and popular Minister of the Interior Sokol Olldashi (below right).

Olldashi is a strong candidate, but Rama has the benefit of incumbency and has certainly had a positive impact in the city.

Having missed the parliamentary elections last year I'm looking forward to following these elections. I'm also looking forward to the possibility of doing some election observing if possible. So if anyone out there - OSCE, EU - is looking for volunteers, I'm available.


Llukan said…
Alwyn, don't you know better than to mess with Albanian elections? They're usually messy enough to create accusations and problems for years to come....
ourmanintirana said…
In Belfast, one of the main political parties was a front for a terrorist organisation; another was led by a religious fundamentalist.

In parts of the city ballot boxes were transported to and from polling stations in armoured cars with military escorts.

It was the Irish who came up with the phrase 'vote early, vote often'. Every election was dogged by claims of intimidation and 'personation' i.e. vote stealing.

How much worse can it get here?

Besides, I need a challenge.
vote early, vote often! I love that!
Once again, the Irish manage to make me laugh!
Thank you OMIT
Llukan said…
U'r a brave man :)
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ourmanintirana said…
Anonymous, you have been deleted.

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Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.


And now the end is near
and so i face nanananana...

Never did like that crappy song.

But it's true nevertheless.

Tomorrow in the wee hours of the morning we will be heading for the airport for the last time. I suppose it was too much to expect that I could have kept this going while getting ready to leave. So apologies for the lack of postings over the last weeks. This is post number 380 something so I suppose one post every two days is not a bad average.

There were probably 380 more in my head or scribbled down on scraps of paper, but many of them are perhaps best left there.

I suppose I should be penning - or typing - my final thoughts and reflections on two years in Tirana, but right now I don't have any. Maybe in a month or two though I might come back with something.

Thanks to all of you who have read this blog - especially those of you who have become regulars. Thanks also for linking and thanks to all who left comments.

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The death of communism in Albania brought a flourishing market economy to life just as it did across Central Europe and Russia. On the streets of Tirana people are buying and selling, trading goods and services in predictable, or sometimes novel, ways. The shops are the most obvious expression of this. The streets are lined with little stores selling almost everything you could want. Freed from the choking grip of state bureaucracy Albanians are now at liberty to buy whatever they can afford. No matter how absurd the demand, someone will create the supply. Hence the preponderance of shoe stores in this city of muddy streets and torn up footpaths. Especially outlandish is the fashion for high heeled white boots - about as impractical a style of footware as could be imagined. Dotted across the city are the market stalls, sometimes just one person selling bananas, elsewhere a whole street lined with sellers of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and spices. Those who cannot bring thei…