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TIRANA, Albania – Albania's president has canceled upcoming municipal elections, citing the need to reduce political tensions in the country.
President Ilir Meta said he acted because "the actual circumstances do not provide necessary conditions for true, democratic, representative and all-inclusive elections" on June 30.
Thousands of Albanians who support the political opposition assembled for an anti-government protest on Saturday. After sundown, tear gas and flares clouded the streets of Tirana.
The opposition, led by the center-right Democratic Party, accuses the left-wing government of links to organized crime and vote rigging. The government denies the allegations.
Opposition leaders are demanding an early general election. The United States and the European Union urged them to disavow violence and sit in a dialogue with government representatives to resolve the political crisis.