Sunday, August 7

Women dominate the main table of the new Albanian government

Parliamentarians in Albania approved the new cabinet in the female-dominated country on Friday.

After a 20-hour debate, the 140-seat parliament voted 77 to 53 for Prime Minister Edi Rama’s new cabinet and program.

The left-wing 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 the cabinet with the most women” – 12 in the 17-member cabinet, propelling Albania to the top of the world rankings. in terms of percentage of women. fill cabinet positions.

According to the latest UN figures, dating back to January 2021, Nicaragua topped the list at the time with 10 women among 17 cabinet members. Even then, Albania had ranked fifth with 9 women in a 16-member cabinet.

Rama has included women in the highest positions throughout his career, including during his tenure as minister of culture, mayor of the Albanian capital Tirana, and as prime minister, a position he has held since 2013.

However, Rama warned that no minister would be favored because of their gender and that the length of their terms would depend solely on their performance in their positions, “without gender discrimination.”

Independent analyst Lutfi Dervishi said the next step should be to have women in the highest positions of president and prime minister, which he said would change Albania’s view of the outside world “as a conservative, or largely Islamic society ruled by corruption.” .

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“There is a general perception that women are less prone to corruption and abuse of office,” he added.

But some noted the inexperience of some of the new cabinet members. Independent analyst Aleksander Cipa said public opinion was critical as some of the new appointees “came from anonymity” and were not known for any professional successes or political careers.

Rama has had “a constant preference in his political and executive career” in appointing women to key positions around him, Cipa said, adding that this practice could be done in part for public relations reasons.

“He has felt better (working with women) because of his individual authority and is more controlling in society with the women in power,” he said.

The main challenges for the government will be to complete the reconstruction process after the November 2019 earthquake and face the pandemic and its impact on the economy, as well as fight corruption and drug trafficking, boost growth at least 4% per year, raise wages and reduce unemployment. .

The prime minister aims to turn the country into an energy producer and exporter and 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 was appointed to manage the country’s financial and economic portfolios. Olta Xhacka maintains her position as chancellor, as does the Minister of Culture, Elva Margariti, and the Minister of Education, Evis Kushi.

Another newcomer, Frida Krifca, will lead the Ministry of Agriculture, with the goal of reaching a billion dollars in exports of agricultural products. The new speaker of parliament is also a woman, Lindita Nikolla, former Minister of Education.

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Albania, with a population of 2.8 million, has been a member of NATO since 2009 and expects to start full accession negotiations with the European Union later this year.

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