The opposition coalition said its projections show that it could win 84 out of 140 seats in parliament. Meanwhile, the head of the Socialist Party Edi Rama, called again on his rival to concede defeat.
“We are waiting patiently for our opponent to accept defeat,” Rama told reporters. “Albanians have chosen to close an era and open another one. The results are beyond our most optimistic forecasts,” the 49-year-old former Tirana mayor said.
But Majlinda Bregu, a ruling coalition official, declined to comment on the results “as long as counting continues.”
The election was marred by the killing on Sunday of an opposition activist in a shoot-out in the town of Lac. Seven people were arrested after the incident in which three more people, including a candidate of Berisha’s party, were wounded.
International monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said they had seen “slight progress” in the electoral process. But the OSCE added in a statement that “the atmosphere of mistrust between the two main political forces tainted the electoral environment and challenged the administration of the entire electoral process.”
The two main rivals have been accusing each other of vote-buying and electoral roll irregularities, raising concerns there could be a repeat of the 2009 polls which triggered months of political turmoil and government paralysis.