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Albania's ruling Socialists win local polls overwhelmingly

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Preliminary results show that Albania's ruling Socialist Party won all but two districts in last weekend's municipal elections that were boycotted by the opposition. Counting on the website of the Central Election Commission, the body that monitors the elections, showed that s the Socialists lost two of the 61 districts contested — one to an ethnic Greek minority party, the other to the Christian Democratic Party.

The opposition has claimed that the low turnout — 21.6% — showed that Sunday's elections were unconstitutional and illegal. President Ilir Meta had tried to cancel the elections, saying they would be undemocratic without the participation of Albania's opposition.

But Prime Minister Edi Rama of the ruling Socialist Party ordered the elections for mayors and local council members held.

This story has been corrected to confirm in second paragraph that Socialists lost two of the 61 districts contested.

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