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Polls Close in Albania's National Election

Polls have closed in Albanian elections that could affect the country's entry into the European Union.

The first official preliminary results are expected on Monday.

But soon after the polling stations closed, the ruling coalition of outgoing Prime Minister Sali Berisha and his rival Socialist leader Edi Rama both told supporters they had won, without revealing any vote tallies.

The West is watching the election closely. Albania has not had an election deemed to be free and fair since the fall of the communist regime in 1991. Europe has been concerned about the erosion of democracy in the country, and another failure to hold fair elections could endanger Albania's entry into the EU.

The results will be determined by a court, because the top electoral commission is paralyzed by the resignation in April of three of its seven members over a political dispute.



One person was killed and at least one other was wounded in the northwestern town of Lac on Sunday, in what police say could have been an election-related shooting.

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