Albanian elections cancelled in midst of anti-government protests

Opposition supporters dismantle barricades outside Parliament building
Opposition supporters dismantle barricades outside Parliament building Copyright Reuters
By Mark Armstrong with AP
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Albania’s president has cancelled local elections citing the need to reduce political tensions in the country.

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Albania’s president, Ilir Meta has cancelled the upcoming municipal elections, citing the need to reduce political tensions in the country.

The move comes after the country's opposition leader Lulzim Basha brought thousands of his supporters onto the streets of Tirana over the weekend in his push for the government of Prime Minister Edi Rama to quit.

Meta said that he had acted because the circumstances did not provide “the necessary conditions for true, democratic, representative and all-inclusive elections,” which had been scheduled for the end of this month.

He added that he had made the cancellation as the crisis “undermined every chance to start accession talks with the European Union.”

The president said he would clarify his decision on Monday.

Opposition protesters are calling on Prime Minister Edi Rama to step down over accusations of corruption and of manipulating elections in 2017.

Rama's Socialist Party of Albania is backed by both the United States and the European Union and has so far held on to power.

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