Poll doubts in Albania irk Athens

The government on Sunday expressed concern about voting «irregularities» in some Greek-minority areas in southern Albania where municipal elections were staged. «We note with concern that various irregularities and other snags have interrupted the smooth process of municipal elections in Albania,» said Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos. He said the government was particularly concerned about problems in the southwestern town of Himara, whose outgoing mayor, Vassilis Bolanos, represents the Greek minority. Tirana said the irregularities were not serious enough to affect the outcome of the vote. But international observers said the polls had been marred by «procedural shortcomings.» In a related development on Saturday, hundreds of leftist protesters clashed with police outside the Albanian Consulate in the northwestern town of Ioannina. The leftists had gathered outside the consulate to hamper a planned rally by far-right group Chrysi Avgi on the occasion of the 93rd anniversary of the independence of Northern Epirus.