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Political Odds and Ends

The elections may be over but there has still been a little bit of tidying up to do, most of which happened while I was away. The Prime Minister reshuffled his cabinet bringing in five new ministers, all but one of them from his own party.

One of them, Bujar Nishani, the new Interior Minister, popped up in Kombinati today where there was a major fire at a styrofoam factory. The plume of thick black smoke which we watched rising into the sky will do wonders for the air quality.

The previous Interior Minister, Sokol Olldashi, had resigned both his cabinet post and his parliamentary seat in order to take on Edi Rama. The resulting election for a new member of parliament in his constituency of Shijak left something to be desired.

The problems came as no surprise. In the days before the election the CEC put out a lengthy statement warning of potential difficulties. On the day the opposition candidate withdrew and the Democratic Party candidate won with more than 90 per cent of the vote. While the Democrats are strong in this area they are not that strong, if the local election results for mayor and council are anything to go by.

Finally, the most surreal outcome was here in Tirana, where the long running saga of district number 10 was finally resolved. During the vote counting both candidates - Gerti Bogdani of the PD and Mira Veizi of the PS - had swapped accusations regarding the integrity of the counting process.

In the end the result was a tie - 4,336 votes each. The CEC decided to resolve the matter by drawing lots. Ms Veizi protested, saying that she would refuse to accept the outcome and file a complaint with the CEC. When the draw took place she won. Whether she intends to take action against herself is unclear.


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Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.


And now the end is near
and so i face nanananana...

Never did like that crappy song.

But it's true nevertheless.

Tomorrow in the wee hours of the morning we will be heading for the airport for the last time. I suppose it was too much to expect that I could have kept this going while getting ready to leave. So apologies for the lack of postings over the last weeks. This is post number 380 something so I suppose one post every two days is not a bad average.

There were probably 380 more in my head or scribbled down on scraps of paper, but many of them are perhaps best left there.

I suppose I should be penning - or typing - my final thoughts and reflections on two years in Tirana, but right now I don't have any. Maybe in a month or two though I might come back with something.

Thanks to all of you who have read this blog - especially those of you who have become regulars. Thanks also for linking and thanks to all who left comments.

As for the other stars of the blog, Bella now has her own …

50 Ways to Make Some Money

The death of communism in Albania brought a flourishing market economy to life just as it did across Central Europe and Russia. On the streets of Tirana people are buying and selling, trading goods and services in predictable, or sometimes novel, ways. The shops are the most obvious expression of this. The streets are lined with little stores selling almost everything you could want. Freed from the choking grip of state bureaucracy Albanians are now at liberty to buy whatever they can afford. No matter how absurd the demand, someone will create the supply. Hence the preponderance of shoe stores in this city of muddy streets and torn up footpaths. Especially outlandish is the fashion for high heeled white boots - about as impractical a style of footware as could be imagined. Dotted across the city are the market stalls, sometimes just one person selling bananas, elsewhere a whole street lined with sellers of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and spices. Those who cannot bring thei…