Albania edges toward elections after vote fails

Albania is edging toward early elections after the governing Democratic Party's candidate failed to win enough votes to become the country's next president amid an opposition boycott. In the vote held late Sunday Bamir Topi, deputy leader of the governing Democratic Party-led coalition of Prime Minister Sali Berisha, won 75 votes, short of the 84 required to win the post. The Democrats have 80 seats in the 140-seat parliament, too few to overcome an opposition boycott. Former Prime Minister and opposition Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano was also nominated for the post and won just three votes. The Socialist Party-led coalition, now run by Tirana Mayor Edi Rama, boycotted the vote in protest after Berisha refused to vote for a military official proposed by the opposition when the official did not agree on some constitutional amendments Berisha had demanded. If the parliament fails to elect a president in five rounds, it is dissolved and the country goes to early general elections within 60 days, according to the constitution.