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Albania: Short News Items

Tirana, 27 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - Albanian reports today say President Sali Berisha has named the members of the 17-member Central Election Committee (CEC). The chairman (Kristaq Kume) will be a member of the President's Democratic Party and the vice-chairman (Fatos Klosi) a Socialist. They will share responsibilities and have to validate election returns jointly.

The secretary (Thimio Kondi) will be the interior ministry's state secretary for local government, a Democrat. Socialist Prime Minister Bashkim Fino's government will challenge that appointment, since Fino had originally nominated a different person. The Democratic Party and the Socialists have four seats each. Eight other parties share the remaining seats.

Opposition Still Considering Election Boycott

Eight parties in Albania's broad-based coalition government met Socialist Prime Minister Bashkim Fino in Tirana yesterday and announced afterward that they want the lifting of the state of emergency, strict international monitoring of the elections, and government control over the secret service (SHIK). Albanian reports say the parties still may boycott the ballot if Berisha does not meet their demands.

Meanwhile at a conference on Albania in Rome, Italy's Prime Minister Lamberto Dini warned Albanians that future international aid will depend on whether free and fair elections take place. And, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) special envoy Franz Vranitzky said that the mandate of peacekeepers will have to be extended beyond the June elections.

Government Investigates Police Attack On Hospital

Albanian reports say the Government has launched an investigation into the attack by members of President Sali Berisha's elite National Guard on the Tirana military hospital Sunday night. Hospital doctors threatened to walk off the job yesterday unless Berisha identifies the attackers.

Defense Minister Shaqir Vukaj pledged "not to tolerate such banditry anymore." A spokesman for the Guard also condemned the attack. Elsewhere, armed insurgents blocked a convoy of special police forces from entering Gjirokaster yesterday, prior to a visit by Berisha.