countryaah, nineteen people were sentenced in March to
between 1 and 18 years in prison for the severe explosion in
an armistice outside the capital Tirana in 2008, when 26
people were killed.
In May, Parliament granted the EU legal representation in
Kosovo, EULEX, to investigate allegations in Albania that
the former Kosovo Albanian guerrilla UCK engaged in
trafficking in civilian Serbs bodies during the Kosovo war
of 1997-99. According to a parliamentarian, the purpose was
"once and for all" to show that the charges were false.
After three unsuccessful attempts in June, Parliament
appointed Interior Minister Bujar Nishani as new president
when Bamir Topi's term expired. Disputes within the ruling
bourgeois Democratic Party (PDS) contributed to the party's
original candidate withdrawing before the fourth vote. The
president mainly has ceremonial duties.
Parliament adopted amendments to the electoral law and
approved restrictions on prosecutorial immunity for MEPs and
senior civil servants, in accordance with EU requirements.
The changes were also approved by the Socialist Party, which
was in opposition. It helped the EU Commission in October
recommend that Albania be granted candidate status.
Twenty former political prisoners launched a hunger
strike in September in protest of missing compensation for
sitting in jail during the communist era. The government
promised compensation in 2007. Two of the dissidents set
fire to themselves in protest and one of them died in
November of their injuries.