AP NEWS
Click to copy
Click to copy

Albania: Public officials try to block election preparation

By LLAZAR SEMINIJune 18, 2019
1 of 4
Albanian President Ilir Meta speaks during a news conference in capital Tirana, Albania on Monday June 10, 2019. Albania's president says he has canceled upcoming municipal elections fearing a “social tension.” Ilir Meta said holding elections without the opposition would be “undemocratic” and would “freeze the country’s integration.” (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)
1 of 4
Albanian President Ilir Meta speaks during a news conference in capital Tirana, Albania on Monday June 10, 2019. Albania's president says he has canceled upcoming municipal elections fearing a “social tension.” Ilir Meta said holding elections without the opposition would be “undemocratic” and would “freeze the country’s integration.” (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Public officials in some parts of Albania aren’t cooperating with the independent election workers assigned to prepare for local elections at the end of the month, the Albanian Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

The apparent disruption in regional districts governed by opposition parties are part of a political crisis within the national government.

Regional officials in Shkodra tried to prevent election personnel from entering their offices on Monday, while civilian supporters of the opposition stormed the Tropoja election authority office in northeastern Albania on Tuesday.

Interior Minister Sander Lleshaj warned mayors at the helm of opposition-led districts there would be consequences “if they use force” to block the election workers. The opposition runs 27 districts, the governing Socialists in 34.

“If they will do mindless acts or not in line with the law, they will be confronted with the law,” Lleshaj said.

President Ilir Meta tried to cancel Albania’s June 30 municipal elections, saying they would be “undemocratic” without opposition participation.

Center-right opposition parties are boycotting the vote after months of demanding an early national election and accusing the government of vote-rigging and other wrongdoing.

The Socialist-led government said the president exceeded his constitutional authority and is trying to oust Meta. Prime Minister Edi Rama insists the municipal elections will go ahead as scheduled.

___

Follow Llazar Semini on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lsemini

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.