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Tuesday, 29 January, 2002, 15:01 GMT
Albanian prime minister quits
Ilir Meta
Ilir Meta: Cabinet facing attacks and insults
Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta has resigned as a resuylt of a feud with other leaders of his ruling Socialist Party over ministerial appointments.

My cabinet has been under an ongoing unprecedented aggression of attacks and insults

Ilir Meta
The resignation followed Mr Meta's failure to agree a reshuffle with party chairman Fatos Nano, who accused the government of corruption and incompetence.

"My cabinet has been under an ongoing unprecedented aggression of attacks and insults," Mr Meta said before stepping down.

The dispute has hampered efforts to deal with the country's energy crisis during the severe winter.

Correspondents say the crisis has contributed to divisions within the Socialist party, and left the country facing a period of instability.


Mr Meta - a trained economist and amateur weightlifter - became prime minister in October 1999 at the age of 30, initially with the support of Mr Nano.

Fatos Nano
Nano: Blocked ministerial replacements
The disagreements began after Mr Nano demanded the resignation of cabinet ministers he accused of corruption, following the Socialist victory in parliamentary elections in June 2001.

Several ministers agreed to step down in an effort to ease tensions, but Mr Nano's supporters have since blocked Mr Meta's appointment of replacements.

The feud appears to have paralysed the government, with virtually all business suspended.

Meanwhile, a particularly cold winter has raised demand for electricity at a time when water shortages have reduced output from hydroelectric power stations - the source of most of the country's energy.

There is no money for imports so a state of emergency has been declared in many parts of the country.

Some areas are subject to power cuts of up to 20 hours a day.

See also:

27 Oct 99 | Europe
New PM for Albania
03 Jan 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Albania
19 Oct 01 | Americas
Rebuilding Albania
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