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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 6,124 4,695 4,100 109
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,740 1,380 1,340 120
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Albania

Update No: 163 - (24/12/10)

Opposition takes a new tack
After a year of parliamentary boycotts, hunger strikes and protests, Albania's opposition Socialist Party (SP) tried a new approach in November. Still fuming over alleged electoral misconduct and manipulation in the June 2009 general elections, the SP and some smaller opposition parties are offering an olive branch of sorts, but one arguably designed to poke the ruling Democratic Party (DP) in the eye.

The Socialists are calling for a parliamentary commission to investigate election materials such as voter lists and signatures. In a change from their earlier position, however, they are no longer demanding that ballot boxes be reopened and the ballots recounted -- something the DP has steadfastly refused to do.

"For the sake of the necessary compromise ... we do not condition our further relation with the parliament on the fate of the ballot papers," SP leader Edi Rama says. He has put the offer in writing to Prime Minister Sali Berisha, who leads the DP.

Berisha, however, says the Socialists must submit the offer to parliament, formally requesting the establishment of an ad hoc parliamentary panel that would investigate election materials and issue a report on its findings.

After returning from the NATO summit in Lisbon, Berisha said he is committed to reviewing any such request "with the seriousness it deserves ... fully respecting the constitution ... in full accordance with the laws of the country".

Since Berisha's government enjoys majority support in parliament, however, it's not clear that the idea would stand any chance.

Rama has been lobbying the international community for support. He sent a letter explaining the initiative to US and European representatives in Tirana, and warned that the national interest is at stake. He insists that the proposed panel have an opposition majority and leadership.

Albania's EU path in trouble?
He also discussed it in Brussels with EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele as part of broader talks on Albania's long standing political crisis. Albanian media quoted Fuele's spokeswoman, Angela Filote, as saying the commissioner welcomes the proposal and hopes the majority and the opposition will work together to end the crisis.

Albania's ongoing political impasse has crippled reforms required for eventual EU accession. It has also proved an obstacle to overhauling the electoral code ahead of the local vote this coming May.

In late November the opposition held street protests against the government lasting a few days.

The imprimatur of the EBRD
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) predicted that Albania will have achieved the most economic growth in Southeast Europe in 2010, the EBRD said in its annual report, published on November 17th.

The 3% growth forecast was due to a number of factors, such as the country's relative macro-economic stability and fiscal constraints.


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