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Another bid to vote new Albanian president fails

10 june 2012, 16:39
Albania's parliament. ©REUTERS/Arben Celi
Albania's parliament. ©REUTERS/Arben Celi
The Albanian parliament on Friday failed for the third consecutive time to vote in a new head of state as the two main political parties continued to disagree on a joint presidential candidate, AFP reports.

"The parliament should meet Monday for the fourth" attempt to elect the president, the speaker of the parliament Jozefina Topalli said.

Under the constitution, parliament must elect Albania's president for a five-year term in a maximum five rounds of voting.

From the fourth round onwards, the required majority drops from at least three-fifths of the 140 members of parliament, to a simple majority of 71 votes. The Democratic Party-led ruling coalition has 73 members of parliament.

If parliament is still deadlocked after two more rounds the house is dissolved and new general elections called.

Under pressure from the international community, Albania's main political parties have continued talks trying to find a joint candidate.

While the Democratic Party of Prime Minister Sali Berisha has proposed a constitutional court judge, Xhezair Zaganjori, the opposition Socialist Party wants a candidate who enjoys broader support, but has refused to name anyone.

Albania has been in a political crisis for three years, ever since the Socialists accused the Democrats of electoral fraud after the June 2009 legislative polls.

A new president should be elected before July 24 when the mandate of outgoing President Bamir Topi expires.

While Albania is a parliamentary democracy with institutional power controlled by the prime minister, the president has an important role as the head of the legal system and the commander of the armed forces.

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