A founder of Albania's first non-Communist political party said Monday his newly formed group was asking the government to postpone elections scheduled for February.
Gramoz Pashko was reached by telephone from Vienna a day after he and an associate met with Premier Adil Carcani to discuss legalizing the group - the Democratic Party of Albania.Pashko said he was asking for his party to be allowed to contest the Feb. 10 elections but would like them postponed by several months.
"We don't have time to be well-organized," he said.
A spring election date would make it easier to organize a nationwide campaign in Albania, where very few people have access to cars and roads are often blocked by snow across the mountains that cover 70 percent of the nation.
In Sunday's meeting, Pashko asked Carcani to legalize the party and create conditions for it to organize and operate as an independent political group.
The new party was created Wednesday after the Communist Party reversed 45 years of one-party rule and said it would allow formation of non-Communist political groups. The decision followed four days of student protests.
Pashko said the presidium of the People's Assembly, the rubber-stamp parliament, was expected to issue a decree Monday on the formation of parties. According to the decree, the party would have to register within 30 days.
He said he also asked for a fair trial of those arrested after last week's rioting in at least four cities, and for foreign journalists to be allowed to visit Albania. Only a handful of foreign journalists have been allowed in.
A spokesman for the Democratic Party, Genc Pollo, said on Sunday that the group would seek formal registration with the Justice Minister this week.
Earlier Monday, a Radio Tirana editor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said by telephone that Carcani praised the leaders of the new party for having taken "a clear stand against the violent actions" in Albania last week.