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Page last updated at 21:11 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 22:11 UK

Albania PM re-election confirmed

Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha on 4 July
Sali Berisha's alliance will be forced into governing in coalition

Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha's alliance has won enough seats to form a government, though it fell one seat short of a majority, officials say.

The result means Mr Berisha's centre-right alliance will be forced to govern with a small left-wing party.

Election officials announced final results from the 28 June vote following a lengthy recount.

The election was seen as a critical test for Albania's aspiration of joining the European Union.

However, a preliminary assessment by a large observer mission criticised the vote, underlining widespread irregularities.

In the results announced on Monday, Mr Berisha's Democrat party and allies won 70 seats in the 140-seat parliament.

The opposition Socialists and an ally won 66.

ELECTION FACTS
Four coalitions contesting vote
Proportional representation system
Parliament has 140 seats
Four-year mandate

It leaves Mr Berisha's Alliance for Change one short of a majority, and it will have to govern in coalition with the small, left-wing LSI party.

It is the first time since the start of multi-party democracy in 1991 that a ruling party has been forced into a coalition through not winning enough seats on its own, says the BBC's Balkans correspondent, Mark Lowen.

The Socialists have complained of fraud, telling the BBC the election was stolen in several areas of the country.

They will decide at a national congress on Tuesday how to respond to the result.

Our correspondent says Albania has never managed to hold an election that meets international standards - a condition of progress towards EU accession.

Criticism of the latest poll could mean the country's EU aspirations remain a distant dream, he says.



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