TIRANA, Albania (AP) _ Albania’s new Socialist-led government was sworn in Friday, just hours after the prime minister announced that an agreement had been reached on the makeup of the new Cabinet.
Prime Minister Pandeli Majko said Friday he and the Social Democrats, his coalition partners in Parliament, had agreed on the Cabinet’s membership following two days of contentious negotiations.
The Social Democrats accepted the top posts in the Transportation and Public Works ministries and withdrew earlier demands for the post of deputy prime minister, which the Socialists will continue to hold.
At the swearing-in ceremony, President Rexhep Mejdani told the new ministers, ``Your commitment is a sacrifice in this difficult period Albania is going through.″
Majko came to power after his predecessor, Fatos Nano, resigned Monday. The resignation followed riots two weeks ago that were triggered by the assassination of a popular opposition leader.
Former President Sali Berisha, who heads the opposition Democratic Party, blamed Nano for the assassination and led a series of protests that threatened to plunge the country into chaos.
Majko said the government will work to open up dialogue with the opposition and will focus on restoring public order and decreasing tensions in this impoverished Balkan nation.
Other priorities include passing a new constitution and keeping track of the situation in neighboring Kosovo, where the ethnic Albanian majority is fighting for independence from Serbia.
Albania is still trying to recover from nationwide riots that exploded in 1997 after pyramid investment schemes collapsed, depriving many Albanians of their life savings.
Berisha, who was president at the time, resigned after internationally sponsored elections brought Nano and his Socialists to power.