TIRANA, Albania — Albania’s national elections were marred by violence Sunday after an exchange of gunfire wounded a candidate and killed a supporter of a rival party, tainting what had been a largely peaceful campaign and threatening to undermine the country’s bid to join the European Union.
The violence near a polling station, which drew condemnation from an EU official, added to the existing uncertainty surrounding the election.
Though the leader of the main Socialist Party has claimed victory, it is unclear when the results will be announced because the body that oversees elections in the Balkan country does not have enough members to constitutionally certify the results. However, the law mandates they be revealed no later than three days after the polling.
Election day was been overshadowed by the violence. A police spokesman said Gjon Gjoni, 49, died after being shot in an exchange of fire that also wounded Mhill Fufi, 49, a candidate for Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s governing Democratic Party. An opposition party leader identified Gjoni as a supporter. Another man, Fufi’s relative Kastriot Fufi, 39, was also wounded.
Details surrounding the incident, which occurred in the city of Lac, about 30 miles northwest of the capital, Tirana, were sketchy. However, the police spokesman confirmed that it started with an quarrel.