Albanian MPs approve new female-dominated government
TIRANA – Albanian lawmakers on Friday approved the new government of the female-dominated country after a parliamentary session that lasted more than 20 hours.
Edi Rama was elected prime minister for the third time after a landslide election victory in April.
“The battle against gender discrimination and domestic violence remains very open and far from won,” Rama said before lawmakers voted for his cabinet with 77 out of 140 votes.
“There are still discriminatory forces and negative energy operating in our society today to the detriment of women and girls,” Reuters news agency quoted the reporter as saying.
Rama said that the fight against crime and corruption will be the priority of this third term.
The new government is forecasting economic growth of around 4% per year after falling 3.3% in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Albania is a member of NATO and aims to join the European Union one day, but the lack of reforms and the reluctance of EU members to further enlargement have slowed the accession process.
The Left Socialist Party won a record third consecutive term in parliamentary elections on April 25, with 74 seats. The center-right Democratic Party won 59 seats in the opposition.
Rama, 57, boasted in his speech that “this new government will go down in history as a cabinet with the most women” – 12 out of the 17-member cabinet, propelling Albania to the top of the world ranking in terms of the percentage of women in ministerial positions.
According to the latest UN figures, dating from January 2021, Nicaragua was at the top of the list at the time with 10 women among 17 cabinet members.
Rama has included women in high-level positions throughout his career, including during his tenure as Minister of Culture, Mayor of the Albanian capital Tirana, and as Prime Minister, a post he holds. since 2013.
However, Rama warned that no minister would be favored because of his gender and that his term of office would depend solely on his performance in office, “without discrimination on the basis of sex.”
The government’s main challenges will be to complete the reconstruction process following the November 2019 earthquake and to deal with the pandemic and its impact on the economy.
The Prime Minister aims to make the country an energy producer and exporter and to diversify energy with solar and wind products. Rama also wants to make Albania by 2030 “an absolute champion of tourism in the Balkans”.
Newcomer Delinda Ibrahimaj has been appointed to lead the country’s finance and economy portfolios. Olta Xhacka retains his post as Minister of Foreign Affairs, as do Minister of Culture Elva Margariti and Minister of Education Evis Kushi.
Another newcomer, Frida Krifca, will head the agriculture ministry, with a goal of reaching $ 1 billion in agricultural exports. The new Speaker of Parliament is also a woman, Lindita Nikolla, former Minister of Education.
Albania, with a population of 2.8 million, has been a member of NATO since 2009 and hopes to launch full membership negotiations with the European Union later this year. – Agencies