Albania’s parliament has approved a government shake-up as part of a compromise worked out between political parties before next month’s parliamentary election. The unanimous vote on Monday came after President Bujar Nishani issued decrees naming the opposition’s recommendations for deputy prime minister and six other ministerial posts: interior, education, health, social wellbeing, finance and justice. A three-month opposition boycott of parliament ended last week with an agreement between the governing Socialist Party and the opposition-led Democratic Party that was mediated by U.S. and European Union officials.
Parliament was dissolved earlier this month as required by the constitution ahead of elections. The vote on the Cabinet reshuffling was held in a special session.
The agreement postponed the election by one week and allows the opposition, which voiced concern that Prime Minister Edi Rama could manipulate the process, to monitor voting.
Lawmakers also voted Monday to toughen the penalties for election-related crimes such as ballot-selling and buying, misuse of police authority and making unreported campaign contributions. All were made crimes punishable by a maximum of seven years’ imprisonment.