Geographic and Governmental Profile of Albania

Background
Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939. Communist partisans took over the country in 1944. Albania allied itself first with the USSR (until 1960), and then with China (to 1978). In the early 1990s, Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated physical infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents. Albania has made progress in its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. International observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997; however, there have been claims of electoral fraud in every one of Albania's post-communist elections. The 2009 general elections resulted in no single party gaining a majority of the 140 seats in Parliament, and the Movement for Socialist Integration (LSI) and the Democratic Party (DP) combined to form a coalition government, the first such in Albania's history. The Socialist Party (SP) contested the results of the 2009 parliamentary elections and the 2011 local elections. Albania joined NATO in April 2009 and is a potential candidate for EU accession. Although Albania's economy continues to grow, the country is still one of the poorest in Europe, hampered by a large informal economy and an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure.
Location
Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece in the south and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north
Geographic coordinates
41 00 N, 20 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Europe
Area
total:
28,748 sq km
rank:
145
land:
27,398 sq km
water:
1,350 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries
total:
717 km
border countries:
Greece 282 km, Macedonia 151 km, Montenegro 172 km, Kosovo 112 km
Coastline
362 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
continental shelf:
200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate
mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter
Terrain
mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point:
Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m
Natural resources
petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower
Land use
arable land:
20.1%
permanent crops:
4.21%
other:
75.69% (2005)
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Irrigated land
3,650 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
41.7 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
1.71 cu km/yr (27%/11%/62%)
per capita:
546 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought
Environment - current issues
deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of Albania
conventional short form:
Albania
local long form:
Republika e Shqiperise
local short form:
Shqiperia
former:
People's Socialist Republic of Albania
Government type
parliamentary democracy
Capital
name:
Tirana (Tirane)
geographic coordinates:
41 19 N, 19 49 E
time difference:
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time:
+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions
37 municipalities (komunat/opstine, singular - komuna/opstina); Decan/Decani, Dragash/Dragas, Ferizaj/Urosevac, Fushe Kosove/Kosovo Polje, Gjakove/Dakovica, Gjilan/Gnjilane, Gllogovc/Glogovac, Gracanice/Gracanica, Hani i Elezit/Deneral Jankovic, Istog/Istok, Junik, Kacanik/Kacanik, Kamenice/Kamenica, Kline/Klina, Kllokot/Klokot, Leposaviq/Leposavic, Lipjan/Lipljan, Malisheve/Malisevo, Mamushe/Mamusa, Mitrovice/Mitrovica, Novoberde/Novo Brdo, Obiliq/Obilic, Partesh/Partes, Peje/Pec, Podujeve/Podujevo, Prishtine/Pristina, Prizren, Rahovec/Orahovac, Ranillug/Ranilug, Shterpce/Strpce, Shtime/Stimlje, Skenderaj/Srbica, Suhareke/Suva Reka, Viti/Vitina, Vushtrri/Vucitrn, Zubin Potok, Zvecan/Zvecan
Independence
28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)
National holiday
Independence Day, 28 November (1912) also known as Flag Day
Constitution
approved by parliament 21 October 1998; adopted by popular referendum 22 November 1998; promulgated 28 November 1998
Legal system
civil law system except in the northern rural areas where customary law known as the "Code of Leke" prevails
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President of the Republic Bujar NISHANI (since 24 July 2012)
head of government:
Prime Minister Sali BERISHA (since 10 September 2005)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by parliament
elections:
president elected by three-fifths the Assembly for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); four election rounds held between 30 May and 11 June 2012 (next election to be held in 2017); prime minister appointed by the president
election results:
Bujar NISHANI elected president on fourth round of voting; Assembly vote (for first three rounds three-fifths majority, 84 votes, required; fourth round, a simple majority of votes is required): Bujar NISHANI 73 votes; note - NISHANI will take office 24 July 2012
Legislative branch
unicameral Assembly or Kuvendi (140 deputies; 100 deputies elected directly in single member electoral zones with an approximate number of voters; 40 deputies elected from multi-name lists of parties or party coalitions according to their respective order; elected for a 4-year term)
elections:
last held on 28 June 2009 (next to be held in 2013)
election results:
percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PD 68, PS 65, LSI 4, other 3
Judicial branch
Constitutional Court consists of 9 members appointed by the president with the consent of the Assembly who serve 9-year terms (chairman is elected by the People's Assembly for a four-year term); the High Court members appointed by the president with the consent of the Assembly for a 9-year term; note - there are also courts of appeal and courts of first instance
Political parties and leaders
Democratic Party or PD [Sali BERISHA]; New Democracy Party or PDR [Genc POLLO]; Party for Justice and Integration or PDI [Shpetim IDRIZ]; Republican Party or PR [Fatmir MEDIU]; Social Democracy Party or PDS [Paskel MILO]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Skender GJINUSHI]; Socialist Movement for Integration or LSI [Ilir META]; Socialist Party or PS [Edi RAMA]; Unity for Human Rights Party or PBDNJ [Vangjel DULE]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Red and Black Alliance [Kreshnik SPAHIU]; Front for Albanian National Unification or FBKSH [Gafur ADILI]; Mjaft Movement [Elton KACIDHJA]; Omonia [Vasil BOLLANO]; Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania or BSPSH [Gezim KALAJA]
International organization participation
BSEC, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NATO, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, SELEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Gilbert GALANXHI
chancery:
S1312 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone:
[1] (202) 223-4942
FAX:
[1] (202) 628-7342
consulate(s) general:
New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Alexander ARVIZU
embassy:
Rruga e Elbasanit, Labinoti #103, Tirana
mailing address:
US Department of State, 9510 Tirana Place, Dulles, VA 20189-9510
telephone:
[355] (4) 2247285
FAX:
[355] (4) 2232222
Flag description
red with a black two-headed eagle in the center; the design is claimed to be that of 15th-century hero George Castriota SKANDERBEG, who led a successful uprising against the Turks that resulted in a short-lived independence for some Albanian regions (1443-78); an unsubstantiated explanation for the eagle symbol is the tradition that Albanians see themselves as descendants of the eagle; they refer to themselves as "Shkypetars," which translates as "sons of the eagle"
National symbol(s)
double-headed eagle
National anthem
name:
"Hymni i Flamurit" (Hymn to the Flag)
lyrics/music:
Aleksander Stavre DRENOVA/Ciprian PORUMBESCU
adopted 1912
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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