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Albania election results in chaos after disputed results, shooting

Candidate wounded reportedly trying to separate opposition supporters from bribing voters during general election in Albania.

Albania election chaos 06 23 2013Enlarge
An Albanian woman casts her ballot during national elections on June 23, 2013, near the capital of Tirana. (GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP/Getty Images)

Opposing parties are both claiming victory after a chaotic day of voting in Albania that left one supporter dead and a candidate wounded.

“The Renaissance has won,” Socialist Edi Rama told joyous supporters on Sunday, hours before any official results were expected.

Just a few blocks away, outgoing Prime Minister Sali Berisha told Agence France-Presse at his Democratic Party headquarters that he was “convinced of our great victory.”

Preliminary results are not expected until Monday at the earliest, AFP reported.

Voting was extended by the Central Electoral Commission, a body grappling with its own issues, Reuters reported.

Conflict within the election agency threatens to throw the results into dispute regardless of who wins.

Three of seven positions within the commission are vacant. The CEC was short-staffed and couldn’t provide any early results, Reuters said. Law demands, however, a result within three days.

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A shooting earlier on Sunday cast a pall over the entire proceeding, The Associated Press said.

Allegations of bribery reportedly sparked a shooting in Lac, a city about 30 miles outside the capital Tirana.

Police told the AP that one man died in a gun battle that wounded Mhill Fufi, 49, a candidate for Berisha’s ruling Democratic Party. There was one other injury.

Democratic Party representative Laura Vorpsi told reporters that Fufi was attempting to separate opposition supporters trying to bribe voters when shots rang out, the AP said.

Albania’s election is under close watch. The Balkan nation is a NATO member applying to join the European Union.

A shaky government and suspect election process has sabotaged two previous attempts at EU membership.

The year’s election “represents a crucial test for the country's democratic institutions and its progress towards the European Union,” an EU official said before the vote.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/130623/albania-election-results-chaos-after-disputed-results-shooting