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Albania: Envoy Says Parties Have Reached Election Agreement

Tirana, 22 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - The leading European envoy to Albania announced in Vienna today that the country's main political parties have reached an agreement on holding parliamentary elections next month.

Franz Vranitzky, a former Austrian chancellor now with the Organization For Security and Cooperation In Europe (OSCE), said he was told of the breakthrough in a phone conversation with Albanian Prime Minister Bashkim Fino late yesterday.

Vranitzky said the parties agreed that most seats will be awarded based on majority voting, believed to favor President Sali Berisha's Democratic Party. They also agreed on the makeup of election commissions and that all parties should have access to the media. There has been no confirmation from Albanian sources.

Fino, a Socialist, has been attempting to negotiate a deal between Berisha's Democrats and opposition parties over the June 29 elections. Several opposition parties had threatened a boycott, saying a recent election law passed by a parliament dominated by Berisha's party was unfair.

Berisha early this year agreed to elections to stop unrest following the collapse of high risk investment schemes.