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Albania Holds Key Parliamentary Elections

Albanians have gone to the polls in a parliamentary election widely seen as crucial to the nation's hopes of forging closer ties with NATO and the European Union.

Some polling stations kept their doors open beyond the official closing time Sunday evening, to allow for late voting for Albania's 140-seat parliament. There are no official statistics on voter turnout.

Officials say one person was shot and killed during a dispute at a polling station in Tirana, the capital. They also report incidents and irregularities at some other precincts.

A television exit poll showed the opposition Democratic Party of former President Sali Berisha leading Prime Minister Fatos Nano's Socialists in at least 11 of 100 electoral districts.

Observers say an election free of irregularities is important for Albania's hopes for closer Euro-Atlantic ties. Preliminary results are expected Monday at the earliest.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.