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News 26 Jul 11

Lulzim Basha Sworn In as Tirana Mayor

Albania’s democratic party candidate Lulzim Basha has officially started work as the city’s new mayor, following a controversial electoral race.

Besar Likmeta
Lulzim Basha | Photo courtesy of the Democratic Party

In his first speech before the city council the new mayor vowed to lead sweeping reforms in his first hundred days in office, while promising to make the municipality more accessible to citizens and free of political conflicts.

“For a long time the municipality of Tirana became an area for political struggle,” Basha said.  “Under my watch the municipality will work to find solutions for the problems that the citizens face and here there is no room for political conflicts”.

He added that in his first three months in office he would establish a new consumer protection agency in the municipality, start preparations for the city’s new urban plan, increase investments and employment and solve the traffic problems in the city centre.

Albania’s Central Electoral Commission declared Basha the winner of the race for the capital with a 93 vote advantage out of a quarter-million on 25 May.

After two months of legal wrangling, Albania’s Electoral College rejected the last opposition appeal challenging the razor-thin victory on 8 July.

The Tirana poll was considered the key battleground of the 8 May local elections, pitting Basha – a candidate of the centre-right government of Sali Berisha - against the opposition Socialist leader  Edi Rama.

Rama had held the position of Mayor of Tirana for the past three terms. 

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Interactive Map: Key Races in Albania’s 2011 Local Elections

On May 8, 3,186,569 Albanians 18-year or older will have the chance to cast their ballot in the local elections, choosing the new mayors and head of communes in 384 municipalities.