(Image Credit: AP)
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama Tuesday celebrated his victory for the record third term as he praised his support base for delivering his Socialist Party's "most difficult but sweetest" election victory. Claiming a win for his ruling Socialist Party (PS) in Albania's parliamentary elections as it led by 49 per cent majority in polls, the leader of Albania since 2013 congratulated himself and his PS members for the historic win. Speaking at the public conference organized to declare election results at the centre of Tirana, Albania’s PM told supporters "thank you for trusting me to lead a third term”. Meanwhile, his opposition Democratic Party (PD) remained reluctant about accepting the results, having secured just 39 per cent votes as they waited for the country's 5,199 polling booths yet to declare the count.
Rama had earlier invited thousands of his supporters to assemble and rejoice for his third straight mandate as he told his ruling party lawmakers "to embrace victory”. Further, he called on all parties including the rival Democratic Party to help transform Albania into a ‘Balkan champion’ in tourism. The rival ruling Socialist and opposition Democratic parties were locked in a close call as Rama’s Socialist Party was predicted to grab 68 to 72 of the 140 seats in parliament and the Democratic Party and the Alliance for Change were predicted to win somewhere 60 to 64 seats. Socialist Movement for Integration, LSI, eyed at least 8 seats for grabs. However, according to the Noto Exit Poll, the Democratic Party and the Alliance for Change fell behind after the ruling Socialist Party (PS) was set to win almost half of the votes. With just 30 per cent of the votes counted, PS had declared that it secured 49.4 per cent ballots with Socialist Integration Movement clinching 7.1 per cent votes.
Albania’s leader Rama, who had led a campaign trail saying that he would turn Albania into a "champion'' in tourism, energy, agriculture, and digital projects, managed to defeat his contender Lulzim Basha of the PD. However, now hurling allegations that the ruling Socialist party was involved in the corruption and organized crime, at least 12 opposition parties united in a coalition against the Socialists. Since its first multi-party elections in 1991, Rama is the first Albanian leader to assume office for the third time.