Albania's opposition leader has lambasted the election commission for delaying the release of results from local elections, saying that a re-count in a key seat threatens political stability
The governing Democrat-dominated commission said Tuesday it is reconsidering some contested votes allegedly cast in the wrong boxes, which could change the result in the capital Tirana. It was unclear how long the process would take.
"(Prime Minister) Sali Berisha should not impose a legal violation that would take the (electoral) process out of control and undermine the democratic coexistence," opposition Socialist leader Edi Rama said, while scores of his supporters protested outside the commission's offices.
In a joint statement, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, United States and EU officials urged all sides to exercise self-restraint.
Preliminary results from the May 8 vote show Rama winning in the capital by a 10 vote margin, but final results are still pending. Rama, a three-times Tirana mayor, was running against former Interior Minister Lulzim Basha from the Democrats.
Rama called the commission's decision "illegal," and warned it threatened the politically tense country's stability.
Albania has been in a political crisis for months, with the opposition alleging that the government rigged national elections in 2009, and accusing the Democrats of corruption. Berisha has repeatedly rejected opposition calls for his government's resignation.
Political rivalry in the small Balkan country of 4.2 million is intense, and four Socialist supporters were shot dead in clashes with police at a mass demonstration in late January.
The OSCE, as well as ambassadors from the United States and European countries says Albanians "want and deserve clarity" on the outcome.