SCOPJE, June 25. /TASS/. Parliamentary elections have begun in the Republic of Albania. As reported by the Central Election Commission (CEC) of the Republic, at 07:00 local time (08:00 Moscow time), 5,362 polling stations opened.
It is expected that 3.5 million people will take part in the elections, including about 136,000 people who will vote for the first time.
For the first time in the country, 1,367 convicts will not have the right to vote in accordance with the law on the decriminalization of the political sector.
The CEC accredited 5,351 observers for the election, of which 896 are on international observation missions. The polling stations will be closed at 7:00 pm (8:00 pm Moscow time).
There are three main political parties competing for the of seats in the parliament: Socialist Party of Albania, chaired by Edi Rama, Democratic Party of Albania, chaired by Lulzim Basha and the Socialist Movement for Integration, chaired by Petrit Vasili, who acts as the new party leader after the April 28 election of Ilira Meta, the country's president. In 2004 he founded and headed the movement.
The Central Election Commission of the Republic has registered 18 parties whose representatives will form the 140-seat National Assembly for the next 4 years. To be represented in the parliament, political parties need to collect 3% of the votes, and coalitions - 5%.
The current parliamentary elections are the ninth since 1990, when a multi-party system was introduced in Albania.