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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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Never did like that crappy song.

But it's true nevertheless.

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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.

Miss Globe 2007

On Saturday, we were at the Rogner meeting with an expat friend who was leaving Tirana. It was breakfast time, and as our friend was finishing his tea the breakfast room started to fill up with over-dressed (or under-dressed) young women wearing blue sashes. These were the contestants for the Miss Globe 2007 beauty pageant being held in Tirana tonight at the Palace of Congresses. High heel boots and mini-skirts - or in a couple of cases micro-skirts, or possibly just belts - have never struck me as obvious breakfast attire, but the girls seemed happy enough tottering and wobbling around with their tea and toast. I'm not sure why they were wearing their sashes - perhaps in case they forgot which country they came from.
As we were leaving they were boarding a large coach which I had seen a number of times around the city in the last few days for their next trip. I'm not sure how some of them made it up the steps, or how they managed to sit down, but perhaps these are the kinds o…