Albania - Government

Under the 1976 constitution, Albania was a socialist republic. Legislative authority was vested in the unicameral People's Assembly, elected every four years from a single list of candidates. In elections held 2 February 1987, 250 deputies were elected by 1,830,653 voters, with no votes cast against and one vote invalid. Voter participation was allegedly 100%. Suffrage was extended to men and women from the age of 18 and was compulsory. The 1976 constitution specified that "the rights of citizens are indivisible from the fulfillment of their duties and cannot be exercised in opposition to the socialist order."

Through most of the 1990s, Albania's government was based on the 29 April 1991 Law on Constitutional Provisions that established the principle of separation of powers, the protection of private property and human rights, a multi-party parliament, and a president of the republic with broad powers. After defeating a proposed constitutional measure in 1994, Albanian voters approved a new constitution in November 1998 giving the Albanian government a shape more like those of Western nations. Many provisions of the 1991 interim constitution were made permanent in the new document, which guaranteed a number of basic rights, including religious freedom, property rights, and human rights for ethnic minorities. After being cut to 140 members in 1992, the unicameral People's Assembly was expanded to 155 in 1997; it was subsequently reduced to 140 once again. Of these members, 100 are directly elected and 40 are elected by proportional representation. The president is elected by the People's Assembly for a five-year term, and the prime minister is appointed by the president. A Council of Ministers is nominated by the prime minister and approved by the president.

Alfred Spiro Moisiu, of the Socialist party, was elected to a five-year term as president by the People's Assembly in June 2002. Prime Minister Fatos Nano (Socialist) has been in office since July 2002.

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