Albania fails to elect president

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The Albanian parliament on Wednesday failed to elect a new president after Prime Minister Edi Rama’s ruling socialists decided not to offer a candidate in the first round of voting.
“We did not offer any candidate in order to show our will (to have) dialogue with the opposition on a new president so as to have the consensus of all political forces of Albania,” parliamentary speaker Ilir Meta told the assembly.
The Albanian opposition has been boycotting parliament since mid-February calling for a transitional government to prepare free and fair elections.
According to the constitution, a candidate could be elected president with the support of 84 out of 140 MPs, a majority already enjoyed by the ruling coalition.
Another round of voting was scheduled for Thursday.
If a president, who has a largely ceremonial role, is not elected after five rounds of voting the parliament should be dissolved and new parliamentary elections called.
The opposition’s boycott of parliament has already blocked some reforms, including an important one to the judiciary required by the European Union for Albania’s progress towards full membership.
A NATO member since 2009, Albania is a candidate for EU membership and hopes to open negotiations by the end of the year.

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