In the capital, which has become the flashpoint in tension over delayed results from the May 8 local elections, protesters attempted to push past a police cordon outside the election commission building, where a seven—member committee was counting votes cast into the wrong ballot boxes for Tirana mayor.

Albanian opposition supporters and lawmakers scuffled with police in central Tirana on Thursday as protests spread across the country over a decision to add previously uncounted votes in a local election to the total.

In the capital, which has become the flashpoint in tension over delayed results from the May 8 local elections, protesters attempted to push past a police cordon outside the election commission building, where a seven—member committee was counting votes cast into the wrong ballot boxes for Tirana mayor.

Police said several policemen were slightly injured during the scuffles.

Protests were also being held in other towns. Police said some 200 people blocked a highway in Kavaja, 31 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tirana, while local media also reported protests in the cities of Fier, Durres, Lezhe and Vlore, with demonstrators blocking highways.

The political tension led European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and the bloc’s enlargement commissioner, Stefan Fuele, to cancel a trip to Tirana scheduled for Friday.

“The electoral process is taking some time at the moment, and there are tensions that are related to the ongoing counting of votes. That is why we have the decision to postpone,” Commission spokeswoman Natasha Butler said.

An initial vote count in the race for Tirana mayor had shown opposition Socialist Party leader Edi Rama ahead by just 10 votes, out of 250,623 ballots cast, over Lulzim Basha, a former interior minister and member of the governing Democrat party.

The Socialists have called for protests to topple the government which, they say, is seeking to change the election results with the decision. The governing Democratic Party has countered that the opposition should wait for the final results.

Mr. Rama insisted the opposition would seek “a democratic, legal and political way out from this dead end.”

Mr. Basha appealed for calm.

“Shall we live through institutions or on the streets? Shall we use the legal process or chaos and anarchy? Shall we listen to the people’s voice or resume the political fight,” he said.

Albania has been gripped by a political crisis for almost two years, with the opposition alleging corruption among the governing Democrats and accusing them of rigging national elections in 2009.

The crisis has led to sometimes violent demonstrations in the small Balkan country of 4.2 million, with four opposition supporters shot dead in clashes with police in January. Prime Minister Sali Berisha has repeatedly rejected opposition calls for his resignation.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the EU was closely following election developments in Albania and urged both political sides to support the finalization of the election “within the existing institutions and within existing legal framework, rules and practices.”

“All political leaders carry a particular responsibility not to put lives of citizens at risk,” she said in a statement late Wednesday.

Mr. Rama, who expressed regret over the cancellation of Mr. Barroso’s visit, called on the OSCE, EU, United States, other international institutions and Albanian President Bamir Topi “to intervene to defend freedom, democracy, the stability of this country.”

More In: International | News