Overview of Albania’s political system• Politics of Albania takes place in a frame of parliamentary representative democracy; PM heads government and presides over multi-party system.• Executive power is carried out by government.• Legislative power is part of both government and parliament, Assembly of the Republic of Albania (Kuvendi i Republikës së Shqipërisë).• Since prelude of pluralism in 1991, party system is dominated by two parties: Democratic Party of Albania and (post-communist) Socialist Party of Albania.• Albania’s official journal is Albanian Official Journal.
Executive branch• Albania’s head of state is President of the Republic.• President is elected to a term of five years by Assembly of the Republic of Albania by use of secret ballot, requiring two-thirds majority of votes of all deputies.• Current president of Albania is Bujar Nishani.• President exercises power to ensure notice of constitution and all laws, act as commander-in-chief of armed forces, carry out duties of Assembly of the Republic of Albania when Assembly does not meet, and nominate Chairman of the Council of Ministers (PM); ministers are furthermore appointed by President on support of PM’s recommendation.• Executive power rests with Council of Ministers (cabinet).• People’s Assembly is required to grant final approval of structure of Council.• Council is responsible for executing both foreign and domestic policies; it also manages and supervises activities of ministries and other state organs.
Legislative branch• Assembly of the Republic of Albania (Kuvendi i Republikës së Shqipërisë) is Albania’s lawmaking body.• Assembly contains 140 deputies; 100 of them are elected directly by absolute majority of voters, whereas the other 40 are selected by their respective parties on basis of proportional representation.• President of the Assembly (or Speaker) has two deputies and leads the Assembly.• There are 15 permanent commissions, or committees.• Parliamentary elections are held every four years.• Assembly has power to determine direction of both domestic and foreign policy, approve or change constitution, declare war on another nation, affirm or abolish international treaties, elect President of the Republic (and Supreme Court and Attorney General) and his/her deputies, and regulate activity of state radio and television, state news agency, and other official information media.
Judicial branch• Court system is made up of Constitutional Court, Court of Cassation, appeals courts, and district courts.• Constitutional Court contains nine members that are nominated by People’s Assembly for maximum term of nine years; also explains constitution, decides constitutionality of laws, and settles disagreements between local and federal authorities.• Remaining courts are separated into three jurisdictions: criminal, civil, and military.• Court of Cassation is highest court of appeal, comprising 11 members that are nominated by People’s Assembly; they serve term of seven years.• President of the Republic presides over High Council of Justice (HCJ) whose responsibility is to nominate and/or discharge other judges; was extended in 1997 to include 13 members from among diverse branches of government.• Team of three judges provides court verdicts; while there is no jury trial, the team is occasionally known, in Albania’s press, as the “jury”.
Government of Albania• Capital (and largest city): Tirana (Tiranë)• Official language(s): Albanian• Government: Unitary parliamentary republic• President: Bujar Nishani• Prime Minister: Sali Berisha• Legislature: Parliament
Parliament-represented parties• Democratic Party of Albania (Partia Demokratike e Shqipërisë, PD)• Socialist Party of Albania (Partia Socialiste e Shqipërisë, PS)• Socialist Movement for Integration (Lëvizja Socialiste për Intigrim, LSI)• Party for Justice, Integration and Unity (Partia për Drejtësi, Integrim dhe Unitet, PDIU)• Republican Party of Albania (Partia Republikane e Shqipërisë, PR)• Unity for Human Rights Party (Partia Bashkimi për të Drejtat e Njeriut; Κόμμα Ένωσης Ανθρωπίνων Δικαιωμάτων, PBDNJ)
Parties without representation• Christian Democratic Party of Albania (Partia Demokristiane e Shqipërisë)• Democratic Alliance Party (Partia Aleanca Demokratike)• Environmentalist Agrarian Party (Partia Agrare Ambientaliste)• Legality Movement Party (Partia Lëvizja e Legalitetit)• Liberal Democratic Union (Bashkimi Liberal Demokrat)• National Front (Partia Balli Kombëtar Shqiptar)• Social Democracy Party of Albania (Partia Demokracia Sociale e Shqipërisë)• Social Democratic Party of Albania (Partia Socialdemokrate e Shqipërisë)
Defunct parties• Albanian Party of Labour (Partia e Punës e Shqipërisë) – Enver Hoxha• New Democratic Party (Partia Demokrate e Re)• Party for Justice and Integration (Partia për Drejtësi dhe Integrim)• Party for Justice and Unity (Partia për Drejtësi dhe Unitet)• Party of United Communists of Albania (Partia e Komunistëve të Bashkuar të Shqipërisë)• Union for Victory coalition (Bashkimi për Fitoren)
Bujar Nishani• Born 29 September 1966 (birth surname is Mehmeti) in Durrës.• President of Albania since 24 July 2012.• Member of Democratic Party of Albania and formerly MP and Minister of the Interior (2007- 2009 and 2011-2012).• Was required, under terms of constitution, to quit all three positions because of his election to presidency.• Was elected as President, by Albanian Parliament, with plain majority of 73 out of 140 votes, minus agreement from opposition.• Completed his education at Skanderbeg Military University in 1988.• Followed his master studies in San Antonio, Texas, and California in 1996.• Graduated from Law Faculty of University of Tirana in 2004, finishing his master in European Studies.• Married to Odeta Nishani; they have two children.
Sali Berisha• Born 15 October 1944 in Viçidol.• PM of Albania since 11 September 2005.• Cardiologist by profession; leader of Democratic Party of Albania (PD).• Previously served as President of Albania from 1992 until 1997; is to date lengthiest-serving democratically-elected leader; is also only President of the Republic elected to second term.• Ex-secretary of committee of Party of Labor in Faculty of Medicine at University of Tirana; relinquished his career as cardiologist and university professor to become leader of Democratic Party in the 1990s.• Was president of Albania until fall of his government following the fall of pyramid schemes; led opposition from 1997 until 2005, during which Albania was ruled by Socialist Party (PS) for two mandates.• Elected PM in 2005 when his party won general election and formed new government.• Re-elected PM in 2009, after Democrats declared close win of general election but were forced to enter coalition with Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI) due to not securing enough seats by itself for first time since the commencement of multi-party democracy in 1991.• Married to Liri Beesha (née Slobodanka Ramaj, daughter of Rexhep Ramaj and Milica Bulatović), a pediatrician; they have two children: a daughter, Argita Malltezi (née Berisha), and a son, Shkëlzen Berisha.
Democratic Party of Albania• Center-right, conservative political party.• Senior party in governing coalition since 2005 parliamentary election.• Observer member of European People’s Party (EPP) and full member of International Democrat Union and Centrist Democrat International.• Rilindja Demokratike (Democratic Rebirth; RD for short) is its official newspaper.• Founded 12 December 1990, making it first opposition party after opposition parties were made lawful.• Came to power in 1992 after its victory in that year’s parliamentary election under leadership of Sali Berisha (current PM) and Aleksander Meksi, governing until 1997, when the government resigned after civil war was nearly launched.• Part of Union for Victory (Bashkimi për Fitoren) coalition, which acquired 37.1 percent of the vote in 2001 election and 46 members, although that election was unfair.• Won 56 out of 140 seats in July 2005 parliamentary election; its allies gained 18 seats under call Time for Changes (Koha per Ndryshim).• Two other parties also joined new coalition (PAA of left-wing and PBDNJ of Greek minority, with 4 and 2 seats, respectively), which meant that with total of 79 seats, Democratic Party and its allies formed government with Sali Berisha elected as PM; one of his priorities was Albania’s integration to NATO, a goal achieved in 2009, when Albania was accepted, along with Croatia.
Socialist Party of Albania• Centre-left, social-democratic, and socially liberal political party.• Currently largest opposition party in Albania’s parliament.• Seats 66 out of 140 MPs in Albanian parliament since 2009.• Attained power in 1997 following political crisis and governmental alignment.• Obtained 73 seats in parliament in 2001 general election, making it possible to form the government.• Lost its majority in 3 July 2005 general election, when rival Democratic Party claimed victory in that election by achieving majority of 81 seats.• Formerly known as Albanian Labor Party; changed its name to its current name during its Tenth Congress in June 1991, also changing its ideology from communism to social democracy.• A man from the intelligencia, Fatos Nano, was elected its first chairman and assisted in changing former communist party and making it member of Socialist International.• Nano resigned as chairman of Socialist Party on 1 September 2005 following defeat in July; he was replaced by Edi Rama, who modified party ideology to social liberalism.• Member of Socialist International; its newspaper is Zërii Popullit (Voice of the People) since 1992.