Albania PM Berisha's party wins polls

July 28, 2009 at 12:00 PM

TIRANA, Albania, July 28 (UPI) -- Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha's ruling alliance has won parliamentary polls, election officials said Tuesday.

Berisha's center-right alliance won 70 seats in the 140-seat parliament, one seat short of a majority, forcing it to forge a coalition with a small leftist party to form a new government, final results of the June 28 elections showed.

The largest opposition group, led by the left-wing Socialist party of Tirana Mayor Edi Rama, won 66 votes.

The election marks the first time since the fall of communism in 1991 that a ruling party has failed to win an absolute majority in parliament, the BBC said.

International observers suggested the June 28 voting was marred by irregularities, but government and opposition leaders claimed the voting was free and fair, and should help Albania on its path to joining the European Union.

Albania became a member of NATO in April and immediately filed an application to join the EU.

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