With about a fifth of the votes counted after parliamentary elections in Albania, the ruling Democrats look set for a narrow victory.
The International Election Observation Mission says the ballot showed improvement over previous years, although violations persist. The opposition and other observer groups said they thought the election was fair overall, despite some problems. Even though official results have not been announced, supporters of Democrat Prime Minister Sali Berisha took to the streets in celebration. Exit polls suggest the opposition Socialists, led by Edi Rama, are behind the Democrats by about 14 seats. However, the ruling party looks set to be short of a majority in parliament. The ballot is seen as a test of Albania’s readiness to join the European Union. The country became a NATO member in April and has applied to join the EU. Both Berisha and Rama, the mayor of Tirana, favour European integration and more market reforms.