Tirana, 25 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The Albanian parliament last night elected a former deputy defense minister, Alfred Moisiu, to the office of president. Moisiu, the only candidate for the office, received 97 votes from the 134 deputies present in Tirana for the poll. He will be sworn in for a five-year term when the mandate of incumbent Rexhep Meidani expires next month.
Moisiu was deputy defense minister from 1974 to 1981. He became defense minister in 1991 during the collapse of communism and served as an adviser to the defense minister from 1992 to 1997. The former army general currently heads the North Atlantic Council, a nongovernmental organization that promotes ties between Albania and NATO.
He was backed for the presidency by both major parties -- the ruling Socialists and the conservative opposition Democrats -- as a compromise after an earlier candidate, Albania's Ambassador to the EU Artur Kuko, refused the nomination.