Albania Parliament to vote on judicial reform

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albanian lawmakers will later vote on a judicial reform package considered key to convincing the European Union to launch membership negotiations with the Balkan country.

Voting of the reform package, which has taken 18 months to reach this stage, is set to start Thursday at 10 a.m. (08.00 GMT).

The opposition Democrats have continually opposed the measures put forward by the government and introduced a fresh demand Wednesday that angered Brussels and Washington.

The ruling Socialists will require opposition votes within the 140-member chamber if the bill is to pass.

The U.S. Embassy in Tirana accused the opposition’s leadership of blocking the reform intentionally.

Albania’s judicial system has been criticized for being corrupt and unprofessional. The new code has been prepared with the help of local, EU and U.S. experts.