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Introduction: 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...

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Political System: Albania's political system is a presidential parliamentary democracy. The Parliament of Albania consists of a unicameral assembly known as the 'People's Assembly' or 'Kuvendi Popullor'. The assembly has 140 seats; 100 are elected by direct popular vote and 40 by proportional vote for four year terms.

The most recent elections for the assembly were held on 28 June 2009. The incumbent Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, was unable to secure an outright majority, winning 47.5 per cent of the votes (70 of the 140 seats). The opposition Socialist Party Coalition led by Edi Rama, won 38.8 per cent and pressed for a re-count of votes ...

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People and History: Scholars believe the Albanian people are descended from a non-Slavic, non-Turkic group of tribes known as Illyrians, who arrived in the Balkans around 2000 BC. After falling under Roman authority in 165 BC, Albania was controlled nearly continuously by a succession of foreign powers until the mid-20th century, with only brief periods of self-rule.

Following the split of the ...

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International Relations: Albania relations with UK

The British Embassy in Tirana works with international and local partners to implement projects that facilitate Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) objectives and strategic priorities. The following funds are available:

The Strategic Programme Fund (SPF) - previously known as Global Opportunities Fund (GOF) is the FCO's most important Programme Budget, and is divided into strands which reflect the UK's Department Strategic Objectives (DSOs). The purpose of SPF is to promote action on global issues in areas of strategic importance to the UK.

SPF "Reuniting ...

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The Albanian people have hacked their way through history, sword in hand, proclaims the preamble to Albania's 1976 Stalinist constitution. These words were penned by the most dominant figure in Albania's modern history, the Orwellian postwar despot, Enver Hoxha. The fact that Hoxha enshrined them in Albania's supreme law is indicative of how he -- like his mentor, the Soviet dictator Joseph ...

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