Albania parliament elects Bujar Nishani as president

Albania parliament elects Bujar Nishani as president
# 11 June 2012 23:21 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Albania’s parliament elected Bujar Nishani as the country’s new president on Monday in the fourth round of voting without the endorsement of the opposition party, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Nishani, 45, got 73 votes out of 76 cast in this round, which requires a simple majority of 71 to win. The opposition Socialists didn’t take part in the voting.

Nishani will replace outgoing President Bamir Topi for a five-year term when Topi steps down on July 24 from the post of largely ceremonial role.

The fourth ballot came after Prime Minister Sali Berisha and the opposition Socialist Party leader Edi Rama failed to agree on a nominee that both sides could vote by consensus to give the Balkan nation a president symbolizing national unity in the first three rounds which required at least 84 votes in the 140-member parliament.

Rama said his party opposed Nishani’s candidacy and asked for a consensus candidate that could represent all sides. Earlier, he had warned the ruling Democratic Party and its allies not to go it alone.

"Otherwise they have to bear all the consequences," Rama threatened without elaborating.

Eugen Wollfarth, head of the OSCE Presence in Albania, welcomed the election of Nishani as president of Albania.

"The election of Mr. Nishani to be the next president of Albania is good news. We very highly value the minister’s determined work for the rule of law in numerous joint projects with the OSCE Presence in Albania. I am confident that his profound knowledge and broad experience will allow him to serve his country in the most constructive way," said Wollfarth.

Nishani, currently Interior Minister in Berisha’s coalition government, is a graduate of Albania’s military academy and holds a law degree. He earlier also served as justice minister.

The European Union (EU), which Albania wants to join, told the Balkan nation’s leaders it would be watching the election of the president for signs Albania’s democracy had matured after quarrels over the 2009 parliamentary elections turned into violence last year. Both the EU and the United States urged Albania to elect a president by consensus
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