Albania curbs immunity for lawmakers and officials
(TIRANA) - The Albanian parliament has voted through constitutional changes that curb immunity for lawmakers and government officials after pressure from the EU, it said in a statement Wednesday.
The changes, which will make it easier for prosecutors to investigate officials on corruption charges, were adopted with a large majority in a vote late Tuesday.
The European Union delegation in Tirana hailed the vote as "an important step in the reinforcement of the rule of law in Albania".
Brussels also called for further reforms to ensure an independent judicial system which can effectively combat corruption and organised crime in the Balkans nation.
The vote on curbing immunity for lawmakers is a major breakthrough as both the ruling party and opposition Socialists backed the measures.
Albania has been mired in political crisis since the Socialists accused Prime Minister Sali Berisha's Democrats of electoral fraud after legislative polls in June 2009.
The row has blocked the adoption of many reforms demanded by Brussels, which has already twice refused to grant Albania EU candidate status.
The country of 2.8 million people applied for candidate status in 2009 and is hoping to obtain it by year's end.
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