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Albania: OSCE Envoy Paves Way For Elections

Tirana, 15 May 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The top European envoy to Albania returned to the Balkan country today in a new effort to clear the way for elections next month.

Franz Vranitsky, a former Austrian chancellor now with the Organization for Security and Cooperation In Europe (OSCE), held his first talks in Tirana with interim Prime Minister Bashkim Fino. He later called it a good meeting, but provided no details.

Vranitsky is also expected to meet today with Albanian President Sali Berisha and with the leaders of opposition parties.

During a visit to Tirana last week, Vranitsky announced that Berisha and the opposition had reached a deal on holding elections June 29. But the agreement fell apart after Berisha's Democratic Party, which dominates parliament, forced through a new election law two days ago. The opposition says it favors the Democrats. The law was also criticized by the OSCE. Berisha yesterday postponed its implementation.

Berisha agreed to new elections earlier this year after the collapse of several high risk investment schemes led to widespread unrest.