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Albanian Parliament Sworn In, Speaker Elected

Albania's new parliament of 140 lawmakers has been sworn in and a left-wing Socialist Party politician has been elected speaker.

The lawmakers on September 9 voted 80-40 to approve the nomination of Gramoz Ruci as speaker.

The main opposition Democratic Party voted against Ruci, and the smaller opposition Socialist Movement for Integration Party left the session in protest before the vote.

The Socialist Party holds 74 seats in the 140 seat parliament following elections on June 25.

The Democratic Party has 43 seats, while the Socialist Movement for Integration has 19.

The Party for Justice, Integration, and Unity has three seats, with the Social Democratic Party of Albania holding one.

The leader of the Socialist Party, Edi Rama, has been nominated as prime minister and is in the process of forming a cabinet that is expected to be voted on in the next week.

Ilir Meta was sworn in as Albania's new president on July 25. He regularly criticized Rama, his former ally, during the recent parliamentary elections.

The country has expressed hopes of joining the European Union, and the EU has urged leaders to continue with reform efforts and eliminate corruption.

Based on reporting by AP, Xinhua, and RFE/RL's Balkan Service