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Bajram Begaj elected as Albania's new president

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-06-05 07:05

Bajram Begaj reacts after he was elected president by the parliament in Tirana on June 4, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

TIRANA -- Albanian lawmakers elected Bajram Begaj, who held the post of the Chief of General Staff of the Albanian Armed Forces (AAF), as the new president of Albania, with 78 votes in favor, four against and one abstained at a parliament session here on Saturday.

A total of 103 out of the 140 members of the parliament (MPs) were present at the beginning of the parliament session, but only 83 participated in the voting. The majority of the opposition MPs, including those of the main opposition Democratic Party boycotted the process.

Speaking to local reporters on Friday, Rama declared that the ruling Socialist Party (SP) parliamentary group has decided to propose Begaj as the candidate for president.

Following this proposal, Begaj held a meeting with Rama at the Prime Minister's office where he informed Rama that he was honored to be proposed for the post.

On Saturday, in a letter to the media, Begaj announced that he has resigned from his military post as major general in order to pave the way for the lawmakers to continue with the election procedure.

"If the parliament decides today that I will be the next president of the republic, the arrows of my compass in this high task will be the respect for the other and love for the homeland," Begaj said in the letter.

Prior to the parliament session, the Law Commission accepted and verified the proposal signed by 37 SP lawmakers, which was sent to the parliament on Saturday morning.

On Saturday, outgoing President Ilir Meta signed the decree on Begaj's dismissal as Chief of General Staff of the AAF, as well as the release as an active service in the Armed Forces of Major General Bajram Begaj.

The Albanian parliament had failed to elect a new president in the first three rounds as no candidates were proposed by any of the parliamentary groups.

According to the country's constitution, a total of 84 votes in favor are needed to elect a proposed candidate as president in the first three rounds and 71 votes in fourth and fifth rounds.

Begaj, 55, will take oath as the new president on July 25, 2022 to replace Meta, who will be in office until July 22, 2022.

Begaj was born in the small town of Rrogozhina located in center-west of Albania on March 20, 1967. He is married to Armanda Begaj and is the father of two sons.

In 1989, he graduated from the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Tirana and was awarded the title of active officer in the Medicine specialty in 1998.

Begaj has a Doctor's Degree in Medicine and holds the title of associate professor in medicine.

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