Local elections will kick off in the Balkan country of Albania on Sunday to elect their mayors and municipal council members with the administration of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Albania.
Parliamentary speaker IIir Meta told AFP: “More than the results, the real importance of these elections are the values of the democracy that should win.’’
The seventh local elections to be held in Albania since 1991, also considered as a test of democracy for the country in the light of efforts to join the European Union.
Prime Minister Edi Rama has promised that the local elections' outcome will give added momentum to “economic development” in Albania.
According to the official date of CEC, over 3.3 million Albanian citizens will go to poll in June 21 elections with the Albanian diaspora in Greece, Italy and beyond playing a key role in some areas.
They will vote for 61 new mayors and 1,595 municipal councillors. The Fifteen out of 61 registered candidates for majors are female.
A total of 157 mayoral candidates, including those from 62 political parties will compete in the electoral race, 57 of which are grouped into two coalitions.
The left-centre coalition headed by the Socialist Party, the ‘’Alliance for European Albania’’ includes 37 parties. The latest opinion polls say that the ruling Socialist-led coalition party is on course to be an undisputable winner of the vote.
The right-wing coalition, headed by the Democratic Party “People’s Alliance for jobs and dignity’’ includes 15 parties.
Opposition leader Luzlim Basha, who is also the mayor of the capital Tirana, estimates the elections to result against the ruling majority. However, he warned supporters to be on look for what he called ‘’fake and rigged’’ votes.
Representatives of international organisations will monitor the voting process and nearly 6,000 police officers will be on duty during the elections, which will be held between 7:00am and 7:00pm local time.
NATO member Albania obtained EU candidate status a year ago and is one of the poorest countries in Europe with some 14.3 percent of population living below poverty line, according to national statistics.