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Albania Party Demands Election

September 29, 1998

TIRANA, Albania (AP) _ Albania’s Democratic Party said today the resignation of Socialist Premier Fatos Nano was not enough and demanded a government be set up to arrange new elections.

Nano resigned Monday, two weeks after rioting in the wake of a politician’s assassination pushed the impoverished nation to the brink of anarchy.

A statement by the Socialist Party said Pandeli Majko, the 31-year-old general secretary of the party, would be its candidate for prime minister. Parliament selects the prime minister, and the Socialists hold a majority in the 155-seat chamber.

Majko’s nomination to head a new government was seen as a move to gradually part with officials who had been associated with the former Communist Party that ruled Albania for 46 years.

Majko, an engineer respected for his moderate stance, is not a former communist. He took part in 1990 student demonstrations that helped topple the communists.

But the opposition Democratic Party of former President Sali Berisha, which demanded Nano’s resignation, wants to establish a government that would rule for up to a year, until new elections could be held.

In a statement, the party said the temporary government would establish public order and work toward passing the constitution. A parliamentary commission has drafted the constitution and wanted to hold a referendum Nov. 28 to pass it.

The Democratic Party said it would continue holding street protests until their demands are met. They called another protest for Wednesday.

But in a separate statement issued today, Berisha called on Albanians and public officials to trust the new ``political solutions″ that will be presented by the future prime minister.

Nano became prime minister last year after his Socialist Party of former communists defeated Berisha’s Democratic Party in parliamentary elections.

The internationally supervised vote followed widespread lawlessness that erupted after the collapse of phony pyramid schemes, which cost many Albanians their life savings.

Before Nano resigned, Interior Minister Perikli Teta, a member of the small Democratic Alliance, also quit under mounting pressure for failing to improve public security.

Nano stepped down after he told President Rexhep Meidani that he had been unable to put together a new Cabinet according to his wishes and ideas. He acknowledged his responsibility ``for everything this government has not done″ and said that ``the chances of coming out of the crisis are little.″

Rioting began a day after unidentified gunmen assassinated Azem Hajdari, a close Berisha associate. Angry protesters burned the first floor of the government building housing Nano’s office and seven government cars parked outside.

Update hourly