Albania: Opposition Activist Shot Dead at Parliamentary Polls

Published: 24 June 2013


An opposition activist was shot dead near a polling station in the northern town of Lac, Albania, about 60 kilometers north of the capital, Tiranë, Balkan Insight reported Sunday.

Police identified the victim as Gjon Pjeter Gjoni, 53, a member of the opposition Socialist Movement for Integration. Democratic Party candidate Mehill Fufi and two others were also injured in the shooting.

According to initial findings, the shooting was linked to a heated argument that quickly escalated, Deutsche Welle reported. Casings of at least four different weapons were seized at the scene. Police have issued warrants for seven people thought to be responsible but have not identified them yet.

The early Sunday morning shooting came after several other reports of violence related to the parliamentary elections in the cities of Vlorë, Kamëz, Kukës, and Korçë within the last 24 hours.

Chairman of the ad hoc delegation of the European Parliament, Eduard Kukan said that violence was unacceptable in the voting process and urged other political groups not to further inflame the situation and to let the proper authorities investigate, Deutsche Well reported.

While the ruling Democrats declared the violence to be an act of terrorism, the leader of the opposition Socialist Party Edi Rama claimed the government had been intimidating voters, Balkan Insight reported. The head of the Socialist Movement for Integration, Ilir Meta, said the police were collaborating with the ruling party in rigging elections.

Democratic Party spokesperson Laura Vorpsi said the opposition was using the violence for political purposes.

Albanian elections have a history of fraud and violence. Albania’s hopes for accession into the European Union could be marred by its well-documented corruption and failure to meet international standards of good governance.