Electoral officials in Albania have declared the opposition coalition the winner of the July 3 parliamentary elections.

The certification Thursday allows the Democratic Party of former President Sali Berisha and his allies to return to power after eight years of Socialist government.

Outgoing Prime Minister Fatos Nano announced his resignation as leader of the Socialist Party, Albania's former communists, after authorities confirmed its defeat. The first session of the new parliament is set for Friday.

Final results were delayed by more than 300 challenges to the July voting. Electoral officials ordered repeat balloting in a few of Albania's 100 electoral districts. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitored the election, said the July vote showed improvement over previous balloting, but called it still short of international standards.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.