The ruling Socialist Party in Albania has won the parliamentary elections and will have between 45 and 49 percent of the vote.

According to exit polls conducted by the Italian agency IPR Marketing, the opposition Democratic Party will have up to 34 percent of the votes.

Reuters estimates, based on these results, that the Socialist Party could win more than half of 140 seats in parliament.

AFP reports that the first preliminary results, based on a small percentage of the counted votes, also show the victory of the Socialists, who won about 50 percent, while the Democrats took about 40 percent of the vote.

Albania held the ninth parliamentary elections since the fall of the communist regime of Enver Hoxha in 1991, and the first since full membership of that country in NATO and the obtaining of a candidate status for joining the European Union.

The Election Commission extended the deadline for voting on Sunday for one hour – until 20:00 hours due to the low turnout.

The commission said the turnout was 45 percent.

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