Albanian PM reshuffles cabinet after student protests

By Benet Koleka TIRANA (Reuters) - Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama replaced eight cabinet ministers on Friday amid a wave of student and anti-corruption protests, and urged his year-old government to think harder about how to make its term 'one of achievements'. Students seeking a halving of fees and a doubling of the university education budget have been protesting in their thousands since early December and have said they will not even talk unless the government accepts their demands in full. And since late November, residents whose houses are slated for demolition to make way for a ring road around the capital Tirana have also been protesting, angered still further by an illegal bid in the construction tender

Reuters December 29, 2018 00:07:34 IST
Albanian PM reshuffles cabinet after student protests

Albanian PM reshuffles cabinet after student protests

By Benet Koleka

TIRANA (Reuters) - Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama replaced eight cabinet ministers on Friday amid a wave of student and anti-corruption protests, and urged his year-old government to think harder about how to make its term "one of achievements".

Students seeking a halving of fees and a doubling of the university education budget have been protesting in their thousands since early December and have said they will not even talk unless the government accepts their demands in full.

And since late November, residents whose houses are slated for demolition to make way for a ring road around the capital Tirana have also been protesting, angered still further by an illegal bid in the construction tender.

The opposition Democratic Party joined those protests and, although the government accepted that the bid had been illegal and cancelled the tender, it called for the government to resign.

Announcing his reshuffle, Rama urged his Socialist Party to see the changes as "part of a necessary reflection to turn this mandate into one of achievements that will lead us to win a third".

One of the triggers for the student protests is alleged corruption in the education bureaucracy.

The education minister will be replaced by her deputy, whose first task will be to quell the student protests, due to resume on Jan. 7, which Rama said were "still hurting" the government.

Rama urged his party to engage with those who were angry, to "boost capacities" and to banish nepotism from public administration.

Unimpressed with the changes, the students left a broken steering wheel and a copy of the constitution at Rama's office.

Rama campaigned for a second term a year ago by asking Albanians to enable him to be "alone at the wheel", without the encumbrance of coalition allies.

"The wheel is a symbol of the accidents Rama had as a prime minister while the constitution is to remind him of the violations of the right of every Albanian to (higher) education," the organisers of the student protests said.

Among the cabinet changes was the appointment of Anila Denaj, a former Finance Ministry official and commercial bank executive who now heads the fund for obligatory medical insurance, to replace Arben Ahmetaj as Finance and Economy minister.

Belinda Balluku becomes energy minister, replacing Damian Gjiknuri; and Gent Caka, the deputy foreign minister, will step up to become minister, succeeding Ditmir Bushati.

(Reporting by Benet Koleka; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Mexico, India, Ireland, Norway elected to U.N. Security Council, one seat still open
World

Mexico, India, Ireland, Norway elected to U.N. Security Council, one seat still open

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Mexico, India, Ireland and Norway were elected to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, but the 193 U.N. member states must return on Thursday to continue voting to fill one more vacant seat after there was no clear winner. Canada lost out to Ireland and Norway in a hotly contested election that included Ireland enlisting the help of U2 singer Bono and taking U.N.

WHO halts trial of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients
World

WHO halts trial of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) - The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that testing of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in its large multi-country trial of treatments for COVID-19 patients had been halted after results from other trials showed no benefit. "The hydroxychloroquine arm of the SOLIDARITY trial has been stopped," WHO expert Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo told a news briefing. (Reporting by Mike Shields, Emma Farge and Kate Kelland, editing by Peter Graff and Kevin Liffey)

Atlanta police officer charged with murder in shooting death of Rayshard Brooks
World

Atlanta police officer charged with murder in shooting death of Rayshard Brooks

By Rich McKay and Nathan Layne (Reuters) - A Georgia county prosecutor on Wednesday announced that a fired Atlanta police officer has been charged with felony murder in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant last week. The death of the 27-year-old Brooks - another in a long line of African-Americans killed by police - further heightened racial concerns in the United States at a time of national soul-searching over racism and police brutality. Garrett Rolfe, the white officer who shot Brooks on June 12 and was fired the next day after surveillance video showed his actions, faces 11 charges including felony murder and assault with a deadly weapon, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told a news conference in Atlanta