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Between 1990 and 1992 Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven difficult as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks with links to high government officials, and disruptive political opponents. International observers judged parliamentary elections in 2001 and local elections in 2003 to be acceptable and a step toward democratic development, but identified serious deficiencies. Many of these deficiencies have been addressed through bi-partisan changes to the electoral code in 2003 and 2005, but implementation of these changes will not be demonstrated until parliamentary elections in July 2005.
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