WORLD : Albanians Form 1st Free Party

From Times Wire Services

About 50,000 Albanians founded their country’s first independent political party today, a day after Communist rulers said they are ready for a multi-party system, witnesses said. They said students, workers and intellectuals gathered peacefully on the campus of Tirana University for a founding rally of the new “Democratic Party” in Europe’s final bastion of Marxist orthodoxy.

“This is an immense achievement on the road to democracy,” Sali Berisha, a 45-year-old heart specialist and founding member, told the crowd.

The witnesses, speaking by telephone from Tirana, said speakers told the rally that the new party will apply for registration with Albania’s Justice Ministry and plans to field candidates in next February’s parliamentary elections.