Basic information about the territory
- System of governance and political tendencies in the country
- Foreign policy of the country
The system of governance and political tendencies in the country
Country name: Republic of Albania (Republika e Shqipërisë)
Albania is a unitary state and a parliamentary republic. Its political system is determined by the constitution adopted in 1998. Executive power is vested in the government and its president. The Prime Minister is the most powerful and influential person in Albanian politics. The formal head of state is the president. He is elected by the parliament, by secret ballot and without debate, by a majority of three fifths of all members of the parliament. His term of office lasts 5 years. One candidate may be elected for a maximum of two consecutive terms. Formally, the president is also the commander-in-chief of the army. Appoints the Prime Minister. Legislative power rests with the parliament, whose 140 deputies are elected every four years. The parliament is unicameral.
Since 1991, the political system has been democratic, pluralist and multi-party. The limit for entering parliament for both party and coalition is 1%. Every citizen of Albania who has reached the age of 18 has the right to vote. The judicial system is independent of the executive and legislative branches. Since 2017, Ilir Meta has been the president. Since 2013, the chairman of the Socialist Party of Albania, Edi Rama, has been prime minister (in 2021, he won a third consecutive mandate). Check computerminus to learn more about Albania political system.
Since 1991, all governments have been led by two parties, either the center-left, pro-European, social democratic Socialist Party of Albania (Partia Socialiste e Shqipërisë), or the center-right, liberal-conservative, pro-European Democratic Party of Albania (Partia Demokratike e Shqipërisë).
Currently, the governing party is the Socialist Party of Albania (SP), which has an absolute majority in the parliament and also controls individual regions. The party is ruling for the third consecutive term (the last election was in April 2021).
Composition of the government:
- Prime Minister – Edi Rama (SP)
- Deputy Prime Minister – Arben Ahmetaj (SP)
- Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs – Olta Xhaçka (SP)
- Minister of the Interior – Bledi Çuçi (SP)
- Minister of Defense – Niko Peleshi (SP)
- Minister of Infrastructure and Energy – Belinda Balluku (SP)
- Minister of Finance and Economy – Delina Ibrahimaj (SP)
- Minister of Justice – Ulsi Manja (SP)
- Minister of Health and Social Protection – Ogerta Manastirliu (SP)
- Minister of Tourism and Environment – Mirela Kumbaro (SP)
- Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development – Frida Krifca (SP)
- Minister of Education, Sports and Youth – Evis Kushi (SP)
- Minister of Culture – Elva Margariti (SP)
Ministers of State:
- Minister of State for Youth – Bora Muzhaqi (SP)
- Minister of State for Business Protection – Edona Bilali (SP)
- Minister of State for Relations with the Parliament – Elisa Spiropali (SP)
- Minister of State for Standards and Services – Milva Ekonomi (SP)
Foreign policy of the country
Due to the size and geographical location of Albania, its foreign policy is essentially reduced to the region and the Euro-Atlantic space. Russia’s influence is marginal, Albania is clearly oriented towards the EU and the USA. Albania has been a member of NATO since 2009. The main priority of the government’s foreign policy is future membership in the European Union. In March 2020, the EU Council issued political approval for the start of accession talks, but the first intergovernmental accession conference has not yet taken place.
Of the surrounding countries, especially of the six countries of the Western Balkans, Albania has the closest relations with Kosovo. Both countries are deepening economic integration (joint customs office in the port of Durres, interconnection of energy distribution networks), in the political sphere, Albania is a strong supporter of Kosovo’s integration into the EU and the normalization of its relations with Serbia. However, a possible “union” with Kosovo is not on the agenda, and the Albanian political authorities distance themselves from similar nationalist efforts to create a “Greater Albania”. Check relationshipsplus for Albania defense and foreign policy.
Albania has very good relations with North Macedonia, both countries seek to join the EU and support each other in this effort. Cross-border cooperation is developing, the plan is to connect railway networks. Relations have improved in recent years with Serbia, which Albania is trying to persuade to mend its relations with Kosovo. The relationship with Greece has always been intense, where the Greek minority in Albania and the large number of Albanian migrants in Greece (unofficially up to a million people) are an important factor. However, relations have recently stagnated due to the unresolved property rights claims of the Greek minority in Albania.
In the economic field, the most important partner is Italy, which accounts for 55% of Albania’s foreign trade. The decisive factor is the Italian influence on culture and education, not negligible on the reform and modernization of the armed forces.
In recent years, relations with Turkey have been developing significantly, which is trying to gradually regain its influence in the country from the time of Ottoman rule through economic cooperation. Over the past 20 years, Turkey has invested over USD 1 billion in the country, mainly in banking, energy, telecommunications, construction and education. It was also one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid after the tragic earthquake in 2019 and significantly helped the Albanian healthcare system during the covid-19 pandemic. At the beginning of 2021, the “Strategic Partnership Agreement” and a number of sub-agreements on cooperation in the fields of construction, infrastructure, health, education and culture were signed. Defense cooperation is also developing. Turkey is Albania’s fourth largest trading partner.
According to the estimates of the National Statistical Office (INSTAT), the population of Albania was 2,793,592 on 1/1/2022, which is 1.3% less than in 2021. It is the fifth year in a row that the population has decreased ( the average decrease is 0.7%), mainly as a result of economic migration abroad. In 2021, 42,048 people emigrated, which is the most since 2019. Population density: 99 inhabitants/km². The share of pensioners (65+) in the working-age population (16-65) is increasing, and the share of children and youth (1-14) is decreasing.
Most of the population lives in cities. The largest cities: Tirana – 540 thousand, Durres – 200 thousand, Fier – 125 thousand, Vlore – 117 thousand, Elbassan – 116 thousand, Shkodra – 96 thousand, Korce – 88 thousand.
Average age: 38.2 years, increased by years in the last ten years. Men: 49.9%, women: 50.1%, most of the population lives in cities (57.8%). Expected life expectancy at birth: men 77.4 years, women 80.5 years.
National composition: 98.76% Albanians, 0.54% Greeks, 0.15% Macedonians, 0.14% Romas, 0.02% Turks.
Religious composition: 56.70% Muslims – Sunnis, 2.09% Bektashi Muslims, 10.03% Catholics, 6.75% Orthodox, 5.49% believers without specifying affiliation to a particular religion, 2.50% atheists, 13.79% used the option not to reflect on the question during the census.