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Albanian premier concedes election defeat

TIRANA, Albania — The conservative prime minister who has dominated post-communist politics in Albania conceded election defeat late Wednesday, taking personal responsibility for the heavy loss to the rival Socialists after losing the support of fed-up voters.

Sali Berisha, who had been seeking a third straight term as prime minister in Sunday’s general election, also announced to party supporters he would step down as leader of his center-right Democratic Party.

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The 68-year-old’s party was beaten handily. With nearly all of the votes counted, Socialist Edi Rama was ahead with 53 percent, compared with 36 percent for the Democrats.

Berisha was hurt by Rama’s anticorruption focus as the country struggles to weather the effects of recessions in nearby Greece and Italy, where many Albanian migrants work to provide remittances back to their impoverished country.

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