Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Constitution: Adopted by popular referendum November 28, 1998.
Independence: November 28, 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire).
Branches: Executive--President (chief of state), Prime Minister (head of government), Council of Ministers (cabinet). Legislative--Unicameral People's Assembly or Kuvendi Popullor--140 seats (100 members elected by direct popular vote; 40 by proportional vote; all serve 4-year terms). Judicial--Constitutional Court, Court of Cassation, multiple appeals and district courts.
Suffrage: Universal and compulsory at age 18.
Main political parties:; Albanian Republican Party (PR); Albanian Socialist Party (PS); Democratic Party of Albania (PD); New Democrat Party (New DP); Liberal Democratic Union Party (PBL); Movement of Legality Party (PLL); Social Democratic Party (PSD); Unity for Human Rights Party (PBDNJ).
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
The unicameral People's Assembly (Kuvendi Popullor) consists of 140 seats, 100 of which are determined by direct popular vote. The remaining seats are distributed by proportional representation. All members serve 4-year terms. The Speaker of Parliament (currently Servet Pellumbi) has two deputies, along with 13 parliamentary commissions, to legislate Albanian affairs.
The President is the head of state and elected by a three-fifths majority vote of all Assembly members. The President serves a term of 5 years with right to one re-election. Although the position is largely ceremonial, the Constitution does give the President authority to appoint and dismiss some civil servants in the executive and judicial branches. The current President's term expires on July 23, 2007.
The Prime Minister is appointed by the President and approved by a simple majority of all members of the Assembly. The Prime Minister serves as the Chairman of the Council of Ministers (cabinet), which consists of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and other ministers. Members of the Council of Ministers are nominated by the Prime Minister and approved by the President.
Albania's civil law system is similar to that of other European countries. The court structure consists of a Constitutional Court, a Supreme Court, and multiple appeal and district courts. The Constitutional Court is comprised of nine members appointed by the Assembly for one 9-year term. The Constitutional Court interprets the Constitution, determines the constitutionality of laws, and resolves disagreements between local and federal authorities. The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal and consists of 11 members appointed by the President with the consent of the Assembly for 9-year terms. The President chairs the High Council of Justice, which is responsible for appointing and dismissing other judges. The High Court of Justice is comprised of 15 members--the President of the Republic, the Chairman of the High Court, the Minister of Justice, three members elected by the Assembly, and nine judges of all levels elected by the National Judicial Conference.
The remaining courts are divided into three jurisdictions: criminal, civil, and military. There are no jury trials under the Albanian system of justice. A college of three judges, who are sometimes referred to as a "jury" by the Albanian press, render court verdicts.