Agreement on crisis resolution in Albania reached

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

Agreement on crisis resolution in Albania reached

In a political breakthough, Prime Minister Edi Rama and opposition leader Lulzim Basha have agreed to delay the elections for a week, and on representation of opposition ministers in the cabinet and key institutions.

Following a three-hour meeting that ended at dawn Thursday, Prime Minister Edi Rama of the governing Socialist Party and Lulzim Basha of the main opposition Democratic Party told reporters they had reached a deal.

After shaking hands with his opponent, Basha went to the tent where his supporters were and informed them about the agreement.

Hours later, political parties announced specifics, saying they agreed to hold the polls on June 25 instead of June 18. U.S. Ambassador to Tirana Donald Lu was seen Wednesday going from Basha to Rama.

The basis of the agreement is the package put together by MEP David McAllister who came as a negotiator of the European Union at the end of April, which was then pushed by US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hoyt Brian Ye during his own May 15 visit to Tirana.

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It includes the postponement of the election date and the appointment of opposition representatives to the government, to positions in charge of the electoral process.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is to monitor Albania's election, also hailed the agreement.

"We eagerly look forward to an election with the participation of all of Albania's political parties", said Lu.

The Albanian opposition, led by the Democratic Party, had been protesting and boycotting the parliamentary works since February 18.

Under the terms of the deal, opposition parties will appoint a "technical" vice-prime minister and six ministers, covering the Interior, Health, Education, Welfare and Youth, Finance and Justice.

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