TIRANA, Albania -- The Electoral College rejected a challenge from the opposition Socialist Party (SP) on Thursday (May 26th) over the final results of the May 8th mayoral election in Tirana. The SP argued that that the Electoral Code was violated because the Central Election Commission (CEC) failed to announce the results within the appropriate deadline. Instead, the CEC decided to open and count boxes where ballots ended up by mistake, a process that took over a week. The CEC says it had to complete administrative investigations before adopting the final results.
SP leader Edi Rama, the incumbent mayor seeking re-election, said the decision was shameful and that the CEC changed results under government pressure. "We expect justice to be done without any pressure and other interests," he said.
Meanwhile, the SP is appealing the actual election result, claiming that the total ballots found in Tirana boxes were 870 more than the number of voters. According to the final CEC results, ruling Democratic Party candidate Lulzim Basha beat Rama by 81 votes. (Ora News, Balkan Web, Telegrafi, News 24, Klan - 26/05/11)