Albania’s Momentous Mayoral Election
The mayoral race for the city of Tirana is one of the most important electoral races in Albania. In addition to serving as chief executive of the largest city in the country, the mayor also wields significant influence over national affairs. The May 8, 2011 election for this post has left the country breathless not only in anticipation of who will hold this significant position, but also in exasperation as the resulting political gridlock and in-fighting has once again marred an Albanian election. At first, the news spread that Socialist Party (SP) leader and incumbent mayor Edi Rama had won by a mere ten votes. Soon after, the Central Election Commission announced a decision to count hundreds of previously disqualified ballots, which resulted in Democratic Party (DP) challenger Lulzim Basha as the winner. Two weeks after that decision, the Electoral College has somewhat surprisingly ordered a full recount. Anthony Bowyer, IFES Program Manager for the Caucasus and Central Asia, talks to us about this election.