Albania’s Prime Minister Names Smaller, Restructured Cabinet

Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama has named a restructured Cabinet with a goal of increasing the country’s economic growth from 3.8 to 5 percent in four years.

Rama on Sunday told his Socialist Party leadership that his Cabinet would be reduced from 20 to 14 ministerial posts, making it “a smaller but more cooperative one.”

The new structure merges the finance ministry with the economy ministry, and the energy ministry with the transport and infrastructure ministry. A new ministerial post has been created to oversee the Albanian diaspora and to coordinate with businesses.

Most of the appointees are holdovers from the previous government, but serving in different positions. Four are new appointments. The new Cabinet preserves an equal number of women and men.

The left wing Socialists secured a second mandate in a June election, winning 74 seats in the 140-seat parliament and can run the government without allies.

The opposition Democratic party won 43 seats while the Socialist Movement for Integration Party that was in Rama’s governing coalition in the previous mandate secured 19 seats. Four other seats were won by a smaller political grouping.

The Democrats said the Cabinet picks represented “the return to power of the former communist elite” that would lead to “deepening Edi Rama’s and a small group’s private reigning.”

Rooting out corruption, fighting drug trafficking, improving pay and lowering unemployment are some of the key issues in Albania, a NATO member since 2009 that wants to launch membership negotiations with the European Union next year.

The new Cabinet will be subject to a vote when parliament convenes early next month.

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