Albania's 1976 socialist constitution was declared invalid in April 1991, and an interim basic law was adopted. The country remains without a permanent constitution; a draft constitution was rejected in a November 1994 referendum.
Principal Government Officials
Prime Minister--Pandeli Majko
Foreign Minister--Paskal Milo
Ambassador to the United States--Petrit Bushati
Ambassador to the United Nations--Agim Nesho
President and Cabinet
The head of state in Albania is the President of the Republic. The President is elected to a 5-year term by the People's Assembly by secret ballot, requiring a two-thirds majority of the votes of all deputies. The next election is expected in 2002. The current President of the Republic is Rexhep Meidani, who has served since 24 July 1997.
The President has the power to guarantee observation of the constitution and all laws, act as commander in chief of the armed forces, exercise the duties of the People's Assembly when the Assembly is not in session, and appoint the Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister).
Executive power rests with the Council of Ministers (cabinet). The Chairman of the Council (Prime Minister) is appointed by the President; ministers are nominated by the President on the basis of the Prime Minister's recommendation. The People's Assembly must give final approval of the composition of the Council. The Council is responsible for carrying out both foreign and domestic policies. It directs and controls the activities of the ministries and other state organs.
The Council consists of 17 ministers and nine state secretaries. The Socialist Party occupies the bulk of the cabinet positions; the Democratic Alliance, the Social Democratic Party, and the Agrarian Party each head one ministry.
head of government:
Prime Minister Ilir Meta (since 29 October 1999)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and approved by the president
elections: president elected by the People's Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 24 July 1997 (next to be held NA 2002); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Rexhep Meidani elected president; People's Assembly vote by number - total votes 122, for 110, against 3, abstained 2, invalid 7
The Kuvendi Popullor, or People's Assembly, is the lawmaking body of the Albanian Government. There are 155 deputies in the Assembly, of which 115 are directly elected by an absolute majority of the voters, and 40 are chosen by their parties on the basis of proportional representation. The President of the Assembly (or Speaker) has two deputies and chairs the Assembly. There are 15 permanent commissions, or committees. Parliamentary elections are held at least every 4 years.
The Parliament that emerged from elections in June 1997 was led by the Socialist Party, which took 101 of the 155 seats. The Democratic Party won 27 seats. The Social Democrats won eight seats (including the Speaker's), and the Unity for Human Rights party won four. Among the remaining seats, the Democratic Alliance, Republican, and Legality and Unity of the Right parties won two each; Balli Kombetar, the Agrarian, Christian Democrat, and National Unity Party won one each.
The Assembly has the power to decide the direction of domestic and foreign policy; approve or amend the constitution; declare war on another state; ratify or annul international treaties; elect the President of the Republic, the Supreme Court, and the Attorney General and his or her deputies; and control the activity of state radio and television, state news agency, and other official information media.
last held 29 June 1997 (next to be held NA 2001)
election results: percent of vote by party - PS 53.36%, PD 25.33%, PSD 2.5%, PBDNJ 2.78%, PBK 2.36%, PAD 2.85%, PR 2.25%, PLL 3.09%, PDK 1.00%, PBSD 0.84%; seats by party - PS 101, PD 27, PSD 8, PBDNJ 4, PBK 3, PAD 2, PR 2, PLL 2, PDK 1, PBSD 1, PUK 1, independents 3
The court system consists of a Constitutional Court, the Court of Cassation, appeals courts, and district courts. The Constitutional Court is comprised of nine members appointed by the People's Assembly for maximum 9-year terms. The Constitutional Court interprets the constitution, determines the constitutionality of laws, and resolves disagreements between local and federal authorities. The remaining courts are each divided into three jurisdictions: criminal, civil, and military. The Court of Cassation is the highest court of appeal and consists of 11 members appointed by the People's Assembly and serving 7-year terms. The President of the Republic chairs the High Council of Justice (HCJ) charged with appointing and dismissing other judges. The HCJ was expanded in late 1997 to comprise 13 members from among the various branches of government.
A college of three judges renders Albanian court verdicts; there is no jury trial, although the college is sometimes referred to in the Albanian press as the "jury."
Political parties and leaders: Albanian Republican Party or PR [Fatmir Mehdiu]; Albanian Socialist Party or PS (formerly the Albania Workers Party) [Fatos Nano, chairman]; Albanian United Right or DBSH (includes PBK, Albanian Republican Party or PRS, AND PDD) [Abaz Ermenji]; Christian Democratic Party or PDK [Zef Bushati]; Democratic Alliance or PAD [Neritan Ceka]; Democratic Party or PD [Sali Berisha]; Democratic Party of the Right or PDD [Petrit Kalakula]; Liberal Union Party [Teodor Laco]; Movement of Legality Party or PLL [Ekrem Spahia]; National Front (Balli Kombetar) or PBK [Abaz Ermenji]; Party of National Unity or PUK [Idajet Beqiri]; Right National Front [Hysni Selfo]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Skender Gjinushi]; Unity for Human Rights Party or PBDNJ [Vasil Melo, chairman]; note - Teodar LACO of the Liberal Union Party was leader of the Social Democratic Union of Albania or PBSD
International organization participation:
BSEC, CCC, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNOMIG, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (applicant)
Albania is divided into 12 prefectures. Prefects are appointed by the Council of Ministers. Each prefecture comprises several districts (Rreths), of which there are 36. Each district has its own local administration and governor. District governors are elected by the District Council, whose members are selected from party lists made public to voters before local elections, on the basis of proportional representation. City mayors are directly elected by voters, while city councils are chosen by proportional representation. Districts (rrethe, singular - rreth) and 1 municipality* (bashki); Berat, Bulqize, Delvine, Devoll (Bilisht), Diber (Peshkopi), Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Gramsh, Has (Krume), Kavaje, Kolonje (Erseke), Korce, Kruje, Kucove, Kukes, Kurbin, Lezhe, Librazhd, Lushnje, Malesi e Madhe (Koplik), Mallakaster (Ballsh), Mat (Burrel), Mirdite (Rreshen), Peqin, Permet, Pogradec, Puke, Sarande, Shkoder, Skrapar (Corovode), Tepelene, Tirane (Tirana), Tirane* (Tirana), Tropoje (Bajram Curri), Vlore
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses) Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Albania
conventional short form: Albania
local long form: Republika e Shqiperise
local short form: Shqiperia
former: People's Socialist Republic of Albania
Data code: AL
Government type: emerging democracy
Independence: 28 November 1912 (from Ottoman Empire)
National holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1912)
Constitution: a new constitution was adopted by popular referendum on 28 November 1998; note - the opposition Democratic Party boycotted the vote
Legal system: has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Judicial branch: Supreme Court, chairman of the Supreme Court is elected by the People's Assembly for a four-year term
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Petrit Bushati
chancery: 2100 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:  (202) 223-4942
FAX:  (202) 628-7342
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph Limprecht
embassy: Rruga Elbasanit 103, Tirana
mailing address: American Embassy, Tirana, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-9510
telephone:  (42) 47285 through 47289
FAX:  (42) 32222
Flag description: red with a black two-headed eagle in the center