Both the opposition and the ruling party in Albania said they were ahead in a tense parliamentary election on Sunday watched closely by the West for any confrontation.
"Our data says we won over the forces of destruction," opposition Socialist Party leader Edi Rama said at his party headquarters shortly after polls closed in the ex-communist country, a member of NATO. He gave no figures.
The ruling Democratic Party of Prime Minister Sali Berisha swiftly disputed the claim. "I assure you it is our full belief that Albanians voted convincingly for our alliance," senior lawmaker Majlinda Bregu told supporters.
Two exit polls gave conflicting results. Such surveys have not proved accurate in the past.
Analysts said the claims appeared aimed at rallying party faithful. Vote-counting is carried out by party rank-and-file, in a system Western diplomats say is flawed and frequently leads to disputes and delays.