• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Albania's election: Who are the key players?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Albanian’s headed to the polls on Sunday (April 25) to vote in an election heavily focused on corruption in one of Europe's poorest nations.

The vote will likely be neck-and-neck between Prime Minister Edi Rama,

a 56-year-old painter and former basketball player seeking his third term with the Socialist PS party.

And 46-year-old lawyer and former mayor of the capital, Lulzim Basha, whose Democratic PD party is hoping to return to power after 8 years.

Albania has a population of 2.8 million, but 3.6 million voters due to its large diaspora.

The country has a history of violence and fraud allegations during elections in the three decades since the end of communism.

On Wednesday (April 21), a PS supporter was killed and four people wounded during a shootout following a dispute between Socialist and Democrats supporters.

Voters -- like Katerina Stefani-- are eager for an end to widespread corruption.

"I don't want to end up in a dictatorship, I feel myself that I live in a regime. With everything that has happened in the past days and in the past years, I feel that we are under dictatorship, in a totalitarian regime."

Albania ranked 104 out of 180 countries for corruption on the Transparency International list in 2020.

It's been accused by the United States of being a major source for marijuana production and other drug shipments.

The country was granted European Union candidate status in 2014, but there has been little progress due to the bloc's fatigue with expansion and a lack of reforms within Albania.

The new government will now have to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and rebuilding homes after a 2019 earthquake that killed 51 people and damaged more than 11,000 properties.