Paydirt for June 28, 2017: EU integration a priority following Rama's election win

Albanian election image

Pennine looks forward to creating ‘newfound prosperity for the Albanian people’

The ballots have been counted—and Albania appears to be on its way to economic progress, judicial reforms and closer ties with the west.

With a count from Sunday’s national elections virtually complete, Albania’s Socialist Party under Prime Minister Edi Rama has gained a parliamentary majority, according to news reports. With 48 percent of votes, the Socialists are poised to take 74 seats in the Balkan nation’s 140-seat parliament.

While Albania has been a member of NATO since 2009 and a European Union (EU) candidate since 2014, a reform of the corrupt judicial system and free and fair elections were both conditions of EU accession for the Balkan nation of 2.9 million people.

About 400 international observers scrutinized Sunday’s vote, releasing a preliminary statement from the capital of Tirana that read: “The contestants campaigned freely, fundamental freedoms were respected in Albania’s elections, (although) politicized election administration reduced trust in the process.”

On the campaign trail, Rama had said that a parliamentary majority could mean the beginning of formal talks with Brussels by the end of 2017.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn said in a statement that Sunday’s election was carried out in “a calm and orderly manner,” and added: “Once the electoral process has been completed, we will engage with the new government to support the reform process and proceed on the EU integration process.”

“We congratulate the people of Albania on such an important development. As one Albanian put it on Sunday, ‘With peace, everybody is a winner,’ ” says Pennine Chief Executive Officer and Director N. Desmond Smith.

“We look forward to working with the new government of Albania to advance our projects, and create newfound prosperity for the Albanian people.”