Bajram Begaj, who held the post of the Chief of General Staff of the Albanian Armed Forces (AAF), has been elected the country’s new President of Albania, with 78 votes in favour, four against and one abstention.
A total of 103 out of the 140 MPs were present at the beginning of Saturday’s Parliament session, but only 83 participated in the voting, reports Xinhua news agency.
The majority of the opposition MPs, including those of the main opposition Democratic Party boycotted the process.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Rama declared that the ruling Socialist Party (SP) parliamentary group has decided to propose Begaj as the candidate for president.
Following this proposal, Begaj held a meeting with Rama at the Prime Minister’s office where he informed Rama that he was honored to be proposed for the post.
On Saturday, in a letter to the media, Begaj announced that he has resigned from his military post as major general in order to pave the way for the lawmakers to continue with the election procedure.
“If Parliament decides today that I will be the next president of the republic, the arrows of my compass in this high task will be the respect for the other and love for the homeland,” Begaj said in the letter.
Prior to Saturday’s session, the Law Commission accepted and verified the proposal signed by 37 SP lawmakers, which was sent to the parliament on Saturday morning.
On Saturday, outgoing President Ilir Meta signed the decree on Begaj’s dismissal as Chief of General Staff of the AAF, as well as the release as an active service in the Armed Forces of Major General Bajram Begaj.
The Albanian Parliament had failed to elect a new president in the first three rounds as no candidates were proposed by any of the parliamentary groups.
According to the country’s constitution, a total of 84 votes in favour are needed to elect a proposed candidate as president in the first three rounds and 71 votes in fourth and fifth rounds.
Begaj, 55, will take oath as the new president on July 25 to replace Meta, who will be in office until July 22.