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THE WEEK AHEAD

TIRANA : Status Quo or Radical Change?

March 17, 1992

Less than a year after multi-party elections ended half a century of dictatorship, Albanians will be asked again Sunday whether they want the Socialist status quo or radical change.

Despite rampant poverty and hunger, voter sentiments are difficult to gauge.

Parliamentary elections on March 31, 1991, gave the renamed Communists majority control and a public mandate as voters spurned the opposition Democratic Party's promises of free-market reform.

Urban voters clearly prefer the Democrats, but the true test will be in the countryside, where two-thirds of Albania's 3.3 million people live. Rural residents clung to communism last time, but the Democrats insist disappointment has driven many to their side.

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