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E - 2

Yesterday was spent at the Sheraton where the OSCE election monitoring mission was delivering its pre-election briefing. It was a long day, lightened mostly by the media briefing which included clips from some of the television advertisements and programmes that have aired during the campaign. These included, among other things, comparing Mr Olldashi to a sumo wrestler and a kangaroo, and an 'interview' with Mr Rama that was actually a interview with an empty sofa.

The most striking thing that came out of this briefing is how incredibly complicated the voting process is, especially regarding the key issue of voter identification. I suspect that most of the problems on the day will have less to do with deliberate attempts to affect the outcome than the confusion caused by the process. That said, in the absence of a proper voter registration and identification system, it is hard to see how it could be made any simpler.

Tomorrow - Saturday - is supposed to be a silent day with no campaigning, so today - Friday - has been hectic. The party workers are still plastering up posters by the hundred, using up every available inch of space on every wall. Many of these posters appear to have been pasted on private property, or public buildings, which seems questionable. The outside of our local post office, only recently refurbished, is barely visible beneath the posters.

Given that all the parties are promising to make Tirana a better place to live, it will be interesting to see if they come and remove all this stuff with the same urgency and vigour they showed in putting it up.

The Central Election Commission has also been out putting up posters - rather fewer, but a lot more useful.

Both the main parties are also planning major rallies in the city tonight. The PD are holding theirs in Skenderbeg Square, the PS in Mother Teresa Square. Preparations were under way in both locations when I passed them this morning. I hope to be at one or both with my camera.


Candyland said…
This is so ridiculous. They are littering the place all over for no reason. Albania is so small and all these people are all over the news 24/7 anyway. Do they really need to spend all that money on posters that ruin the looks of the city? I bet they will not be so quick to clean after themselves as they were to make the mess.
Our politians suck, and the only thing they are good at is to destroy, instead of built a country.
Anonymous said…
Any idea what % of the population has a passport? I reckon it is probably more than the 20% in the US and the 25% in Canada.

If there was a 45% voter turnout, it might turn out that only those with passports voted, the rest foregoing the trouble of dealing with inept civil servants.

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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.

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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…