Opposition, supported by the country's president, boycotted the local polls over its claims of government corruption but Prime Minister Edi Rama's government is pressing ahead.

Albanian opposition supporters march with Albanian national flags and placards in front of the government headquarters on June 21, 2019, in the capital Tirana.
Albanian opposition supporters march with Albanian national flags and placards in front of the government headquarters on June 21, 2019, in the capital Tirana. (AFP)

Election day clashes that were expected in Albania haven't materialised as opposition supporters held only small, brief rallies. 

Independent analyst Lutfi Dervishi said of the municipal elections that opposition parties boycotted as part of a months-long protest of the government: "It was a day with no tears, no joy." 

Dervishi says Sunday's elections were "a test to see whether the political class is mature enough not to solve its political disagreements through violence." 

Opposition leaders appeared to be counting voters but not threatening them on Sunday. 

Opposition lawmakers relinquished their seats and have been organising protests since mid-February, in part over vote-rigging allegations the government denies the allegation.

Polls have closed and until now, Dervishi said, "It is the quietest day for the 2019 year, at least in Tirana."

The opposition, supported by the country's president, boycotted the vote over its claims of government corruption and demands for a new parliamentary election, but the Albanian government is pressing ahead.

Prime Minister Edi Rama's government carried out the elections for mayors of 61 towns and cities in defiance of a decree by President Ilir Meta that the votes are illegal because they are not sufficiently competitive.

Holding a free and fair election has been post-communist Albania's Achilles' heel, but it is considered key for the launch of EU membership talks for the nation of 2.9 million, which already belongs to NATO.

TRT World's Aksel Zaimovic has more from capital Tirana.

Preliminary results expected on Monday

About 3.5 million Albanians were eligible to elect mayors and town hall councils, or parliaments to run 61 districts for the next four years.

The number of eligible voters is notably higher than the entire population of Albania, due to the number of people from the Albanian diaspora in other countries.

There is no provision for voting abroad, however.

Preliminary election results are not expected until Monday.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies