Albanian politicians postpone parliamentary vote to June 25

Democratic Party leader Basha speaks to his supporters during a protest against the government in front of Prime Minister Rama's office in Tirana

Prime Minister Edi Rama and opposition leader Lulzim Basha agreed to make some significant changes to the government cabinet as nearly half of the left wing coalition ministers will leave their post to be replaced with new ministers proposed by the opposition.

Intense negotiations that started on Wednesday with a roundtable of the main parties finished with Rama and Basha shaking hands after a "tete-a-tete" lasting more than four hours.

"We urge the two main leaders to end at the same time with this detailed agreement the institutional crises created and solved in the restricted circle of the political leaders", said the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers.

The McAllister package centres on guarantees that the ruling parties should provide to ensure the election was inclusive and acceptable to the opposition.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Brian Yee mediated the agreement after other attempts at mediation by the worldwide community failed.

Meanwhile, the Parliament will vote in extraordinary session on the vetting organs, the new members of the government, amendments to the penal code on vote trade, strengthening of the legal framework on funding of political parties and improved standards on coverage of electoral campaign on the media.

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"Everything has changed and what was considered impossible months ago is now a reality", Basha said.

Under the deal, Rama will carry on as prime minister but several ministers and deputy prime minister Niko Peleshi will be replaced by ministers nominated by the opposition in order to form a caretaker cabinet tasked with organising free and fair elections.

The opposition has had to abandon its demand for Rama to step down as Prime Minister, however.

Likewise, the postponed Kavaja municipality by-elections will take place on the same day with the general elections, i.e. June 25.

Opposition representatives will also temporary appoint heads of five important state agencies managing energy distribution, the property register, the agency for legalisation and urbanisation, prisons and the agency for rural development.

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