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Albania: New Outbursts Of Violence Kill Seven People

Tirana, May 19 (RFE/RL) - Reports from southern Albania say at least seven people were killed today in fresh violence between opposing armed gangs in the cities of Vlore and Memaliaj.

A government spokesman said that Prime Minister Bashkim Fino met today for the third successive day with the leaders of Albania's main political parties in an effort to reach a compromise about upcoming general elections. The vote is scheduled for June 29, but most political parties are threatening to boycott the poll because of a new election law, which they say favours President Sali Berisha and his Democratic Party.

The election is regarded as vital to restore order in Albania after the country was engulfed by anarchy and riots in February and March. Yesterday, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel spoke by telephone with Prime Minister Bashkim Fino. He called on Albania's politicians to end their deadlock.