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Albania's Youth Launch Political Party In Protest

TIRANA (Reuters) -- Albanian youth, disenchanted by the slow pace of social progress since the end of communism 18 years ago, have launched a party to run in the June 28 elections.

The G99 party is an offshoot of the broader MJAFT (Enough) movement, which became a thorn in the side of politicians by targeting cases of corruption and abuse of power in 2002.

"Our generation grew up during the transition from communism and are entering politics to end that transition," leader Erion Veliaj, 29, told Reuters. "We believe we are capable of bringing change in this battle out of love for our country."

Veliaj, who quit MJAFT to help found G99, has accused Prime Minister Sali Berisha of catering to the interests of a close circle.

Albania has gone through bouts of instability and even anarchy and chaos since the end of communism. In 1997, crowds angry at losing money in pyramid schemes looted army depots and stole weapons. More than 2,000 were killed.

Veliaj and other of the party's founders are now registering as a party under a new election law.

"MJAFT imposed itself on our society because Albania lacked an element engaging in social battles. Their evolution into a party is natural," said Mustafa Nano, a television show host and newspaper columnist who has been closely associated with the new party.