Albania's parliament elected the ruling Democratic Party's vice
chairman, Bamir Topi, president, avoiding snap polls that would
have delayed reforms needed for membership of the European Union
Topi, 50, received 85 votes in the penultimate round, one more
than needed, thanks to several opposition Socialist Party
lawmakers who disregarded an opposition call for a boycott of
His election was hailed with cheers by Democrat lawmakers inside
the chamber and firecrackers set off by supporters outside the
"I pledge to bring balance to the Albanian political climate and
modernise our institutions to make sure we live up to the
challenge of joining the European Union and NATO," Topi told
parliament in a speech that was broadcast nationwide.
Topi is respected by most Albanians for his calm and rational
manner on the political stage and his willingness to compromise,
a rarity in Albanian politics.