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Tense Local Elections Kick Off In Albania

Polls have opened in Albania for local elections in a vote seen as a key test of the country's international credentials after a two-year political crisis.

Reports say a car bomb attack took place on May 5 in the run-up to the vote, and police have been deployed throughout the country in an effort to discourage violence.

Some 5,000 local and international monitors are present to observe the vote, in which 3.1 million people are able to take part. It is expected to be a tight race.

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

Polls close at 1900 Central European time.

compiled from agency reports