Albania votes in its first female dominated government

FILE PHOTO: A woman looks on as people wave Albanian flags during a Socialist Party election rally in Tirana, Albania April 22, 2021. REUTERS/Florion Goga

PRISTINA (Reuters) - Albania's parliament on Friday voted in the first cabinet to be dominated by women since the multi-party system was introduced 30 years ago.

After a parliamentary session which lasted more than 20 hours, Edi Rama was voted as prime minister for third time after a landslide election victory in April.

Of the 17-member cabinet, 12 will be women.

"The battle against gender discrimination and domestic violence remains very open and far from being won," Rama said before the lawmakers voted for his cabinet with 77 votes out of 140.

"There are still discriminatory forces and negative energy that act today in our society in harm of women and girls."

Olta Xhaka will continue to serve as foreign minister and newly arrived Delina Ibrahimaj, former head of the state tax authority, will run the finance and economy ministry.

Rama said fighting crime and corruption will be the priority in this third term.

The new government forecasts economic growth of around 4% annually following fall of 3.3% in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

Albania is a NATO member and aims to join the European Union one day, but a lack of reforms and hesitation on the part of EU members for more enlargement have slowed down the accession process.

(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Ivana Sekularac and Angus MacSwan)

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