Albania president denounces municipal elections

Albania's president Ilir Meta speaks during a press conference in Tirana, Tuesday, July 2, 2019. Meta has strongly denounced the June 30 municipal elections as a "farce" after they were boycotted by the opposition, and has proposed new elections in October to resolve the political crisis. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)
Albania's president Ilir Meta speaks during a press conference in Tirana, Tuesday, July 2, 2019. Meta has strongly denounced the June 30 municipal elections as a "farce" after they were boycotted by the opposition, and has proposed new elections in October to resolve the political crisis. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)
Albania's president Ilir Meta speaks during a press conference in Tirana, Tuesday, July 2, 2019. Meta has strongly denounced the June 30 municipal elections as a "farce" after they were boycotted by the opposition, and has proposed new elections in October to resolve the political crisis. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)
Election officials count the ballot papers at a central counting center in Tirana, Monday, July 1, 2019. Voters cast ballots without disruption Sunday in Albania, where opposition leaders had threatened to interfere with municipal elections they boycotted as part of an anti-government protest campaign that earlier produced injuries and arrests. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

TIRANA, Albania — Albania's president has denounced Sunday's municipal elections as a "farce" and urged new polls to resolve the country's political crisis.

President Ilir Meta had tried to cancel the elections, saying they would be undemocratic without the participation of Albania's opposition, which boycotted the vote.

But Prime Minister Edi Rama of the ruling Socialist Party ordered the elections for mayors and local council members held Sunday, and his party is expected to receive the most votes by a significant margin.

The opposition has claimed that the low turnout — 21.6% — showed that the elections were unconstitutional and illegal.

Preliminary results were expected Tuesday but were delayed.

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