Also: Shqypni; Shqipriė.
Officially: Republika e Shqipėrisė.
Seat of government: Tiranė.
Structure: Parliament (Kuvendi) is elected in geographical constituencies with party-list proportional representation. Government is led by a prime minister chosen by parliament. The president is also chosen by parliament.
Governing party: Partia Socialiste.
Heads of government: Edi Rama, PS, prime minister (since 2013); Ilir Meta, PD, president (since 2017).
Other parliamentary parties: Partia Demokratike; Lėvizja Socialiste pėr Integrim; Partia Drejtėsi, Integrim, dhe Unitet; Partia Socialdemokrate e Shqipėrisė.
Assessment: Much of the Shqiptar population lives unwillingly under other states. The state has been among the slowest to stabilize and modernize under market democracy; this was most obvious in 1997, when pyramid investment schemes collapsed, prompting unrest, rebellion, international intervention, the fall of the PD government, and a PS win in snap elections. Fatos Nano (1997-8), Pandeli Majko (1998-9) and Ilir Meta (1999-2002) all served as prime minister. The PS was reelected in 2001; Majko (2002) and Nano (2002-5) served as prime minister again, and a measure of stability returned. In 2005, the PD finished first in a disputed election, formed a coalition with PR, and former president (1992-7) Sali Berisha became prime minister (2005-13). The PD secured a second term in 2009 in coalition with LSI. The 2013 general election was contested by the PS and PD with broad coalitions (Aleanca pėr Shqipėrinė Europiane and Aleanca pėr Punėsim, Mirėqenie, dhe Integrim, respectively); as a result, the PS coalition won an absolute majority of seats, and Rama became prime minister. A parliamentary election in 2017 returned the PS to power with its own absolute majority.
FH: 3-3, partly free (democratic). Econ: 5.91 (81), hybrid.
Updated: 2018 January 7.