One man was killed and four others wounded in Elbasan, 35km south of Tirana, on Wednesday, four days ahead of the 25 April general elections in Albania.
Pjerin Xhuvani, reportedly a governing Socialist Party (SP) activist, was shot by Arber Papleka, who is said to be an opposition activist and a bodyguard of the centre-right main opposition Democratic Party (DP) politician who later surrendered himself to the police, exit.al reported.
One of those wounded is a police officer who was attempting to prevent the crime, police announced. Local media reported shooting between the two groups, which is thought to have escalated after an argument related to alleged vote-buying. President Ilir Meta criticised the state police and prosecution for being partial and “allowing certain people to roam armed in broad daylight”.
Three days ago, the secretary of the local opposition DP was wounded in another incident.
The EU Delegation to Tirana called for a swift investigation and urged political leaders to speak out against “inflammatory rhetoric, violence and hate speech”.
The US embassy called on Prime Minister Edi Rama, leader of the SP, and Lulzim Basha, leader of DP, to “exercise restraint”. On Wednesday, Albania’s President Meta harshly criticised Rama in an interview with the Associated Press news agency claiming he runs a “kleptocratic regime.”