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Albanian agreement shows 'democratic maturity', EU says

Albanian agreement shows 'democratic maturity', EU says Frederica Mogherini/Twitter

TIRANA (Albania), May 19 (SeeNews) - The agreement of Albania's government with the main opposition party demonstrates "democratic maturity," the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn said on Friday.

Albania's prime minister Edi Rama and Lulzim Basha, leader of main opposition Democratic Party (PD), reached a compromise late on Wednesday, under which the opposition will take part in the next general elections, organised by a caretaker government, and will come back to parliament in order to vote on key justice reform legislation.

The elections were postponed by a week to June 25, 2017.

Under the agreement between the two political leaders, 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.

"Now, this agreement must be swiftly implemented to prepare elections in line with international standards," Mogherini and Hahn said in a joint statement.

They underlined once again the importance of the implementation of justice reform and encouraged Albanian politicians to stick to the agreement and vote the bodies which will vet judges and prosecutors.

"As the vote of Parliament for the establishment of the vetting bodies is part of the agreement, we reiterate the importance of a solid and credible implementation  of the vetting process, which is key for progress towards EU membership," they said.

PD has until now refused to take part in the elections initially scheduled for June 18, claiming the coalition government led by Edi Rama is unable to organise a free and fair vote. It demanded the resignation of Rama and the formation of a caretaker government to do the job.

PD and smaller opposition parties have been boycotting parliament sessions since February, thus blocking the justice reform whose implementation is one of the conditions Albania should meet to open EU membership talks. EU and US officials have visited the country several times in an effort to mediate a compromise between the government and the opposition.

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