Albanians vote in crucial test for EU membership hopes

TIRANA - Albanians vote in a hotly fought parliamentary election on Sunday with the ruling Socialists and rival Democrats both setting their sights on an outright majority to push through judicial reforms vital for future EU membership.
Sunday's race pits incumbent Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama against the center-right Democratic Party of Lulzim Basha, neither of whom managed to win the 70 seats needed for a parliamentary majority in the elections of 2013 or 2009.
The voting is also a test of the country's democratic credentials and will be watched closely by Western observers keen to see it leave behind a history of election irregularities and violence.
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