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Albania: Defense Minister Majko Named New Premier

Tirana, 6 February 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Albania's governing Socialist Party today named Defense Minister Pandeli Majko to become the next prime minister. Majko won support from outgoing Prime Minister Ilir Meta. Meta resigned last week, blaming unacceptable pressure from Socialist Party Chairman Fatos Nano, whom he accused of holding Albania hostage to his ambitions. Nano has accused Meta's government of corruption.

Majko beat out rival Ermelinda Meksi, Albania's economic cooperation and trade minister, for the nomination. Of the 107 members of the party's ruling council, 65 voted in favor of Majko. The nomination must be approved by the parliament, which is dominated by the Socialist Party.

Albania's Socialist Party is divided between supporters of the outgoing prime minister and those of party Chairman Nano.

For more on the current situation in Albanian politics, please see Albania: Political Squabbling Delays IMF, World Bank Assistance.