Albania votes in its first female dominated government

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama speaks during a debate at the parliament in Tirana, Albania on Sept 16, 2021. Albania's parliament was to vote late Thursday to approve the new, female-dominated Cabinet of Prime Minister Edi Rama, with 12 of the 17 jobs going to women, propelling Albania to the top of global rankings in terms of the percentage of women holding Cabinet positions. (FRANC ZHURDA / AP)

PRISTINA – Albania's parliament on Friday voted in the first cabinet to be dominated by women since the multi-party system was introduced 30 years ago.

After a parliamentary session which lasted more than 20 hours, Edi Rama was voted as prime minister for third time after a landslide election victory in April.

The battle against gender discrimination and domestic violence remains very open and far from being won … There are still discriminatory forces and negative energy that act today in our society in harm of women and girls.

Edi Rama, Albania's Prime Minister

Of the 17-member cabinet, 12 will be women.

"The battle against gender discrimination and domestic violence remains very open and far from being won," Rama said before the lawmakers voted for his cabinet with 77 votes out of 140.

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"There are still discriminatory forces and negative energy that act today in our society in harm of women and girls."

Olta Xhaka will continue to serve as foreign minister and newly arrived Delina Ibrahimaj, former head of the state tax authority, will run the finance and economy ministry.

Rama said fighting crime and corruption will be the priority in this third term.

The new government forecasts economic growth of around 4 percent annually following a fall of 3.3 percent in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

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Albania is a NATO member and aims to join the European Union one day, but a lack of reforms and hesitation on the part of EU members for more enlargement have slowed down the accession process.