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Albania Holds Local Elections Amid Unrest

Opposition leader Edi Rama
Albanians have voted in local elections, seen as a key test of the country's international credentials after a two-year political crisis.

The main focus of the poll was the capital, Tirana, where the leader of the opposition and three-time Mayor Edi Rama was running for reelection against former Interior Minister Lulzim Basha of the governing Democratic Party.

About 300 international and thousands of local observers monitored the vote.

During the month-long electoral campaign, police reported about 60 violent incidents, including explosions, several stabbing, beatings and threats that have led to about a dozen arrests.

The country has been locked in a political stalemate since parliamentary elections in June 2009.

The first preliminary results are expected on May 9, according to election officials.

compiled from agency reports