Albanian politicians postpone parliamentary vote to June 25

Democratic Party leader Basha speaks to his supporters during a protest against the government in front of Prime Minister Rama's office in Tirana

Albanian politicians end impasse, likely postponing polls

Many in Albanian politics think the move will likely result in the postponement of the June 18 parliamentary election.

Prime Minister Edi Rama and opposition leader Lulzim Basha agreed to make some significant changes to the government cabinet as nearly half of the left wing coalition ministers will leave their post to be replaced with new ministers proposed by the opposition. The president was then asked to issue a decree to postpone the election date by a week.

The agreement included that senior opposition officials can monitor the election process.

A three-month standoff that had blocked progress on reforms to Albania's government ended on Thursday, as the ruling parties and the opposition reached agreement on how to resolve their conflict.

Opposition Democratic Party leader Basha said the deal with Rama rendered the opposition boycott of the elections and of parliament redundant.

They would have unlimited access to election material and also offer nominations for the head of the main election authority and the People's Advocate posts.

The two main political blocs also pledged to strengthen the fight against the drugs trade and drugs cultivation, with the opposition now represented in the national task force tackling narcotics.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hoyt Brian Yee gave them a proposal Monday from European lawmakers and another from Rama as a basis for negotiations.

Meanwhile, the Parliament will vote in extraordinary session on the vetting organs, the new members of the government, amendments to the penal code on vote trade, strengthening of the legal framework on funding of political parties and improved standards on coverage of electoral campaign on the media.

PD has until now refused to take part in the elections initially scheduled for June 18, claiming the coalition government led by Rama is unable to organise a free and fair vote and a caretaker government should be appointed to do the job.

The agreement could also revive Albania's stalled effort to joining the European Union.

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