TIRANA - Agence France-Presse
Albanian President Bamir Topi. AP Photo
Albanian political parties failed Wednesday to propose any candidates for the country's new president, forcing parliament to put off his or her election for a week.
"There is no candidate proposed," speaker Jozefina Topalli said at the opening of the parliamentary session.
"This is a formal parliamentary session, without a candidate and without a result," the chief of the opposition Socialists in the assembly, Gramoz Ruci, said.
The Socialists and the governing Democrats of Prime Minister Sali Berisha blamed each other for the failure to agree on an acceptable candidate.
Under the constitution, parliament must elect Albania's president for a five-year term in a maximum five rounds of voting. Following the failure of the first round, the second must be held within a week, but the exact date has yet to be determined.
Under international pressure political parties have been trying to reach a consensus on a candidate to succeed outgoing President Bamir Topi, whose mandate expires in July, in a bid to avoid a political impasse.
The European Union
recently urged the election of a head of state who would reflect the unity of Albania, which has been in political crisis since the 2009 parliamentary elections.
The opposition claimed fraud and refused to recognise the result.
While Albania is a parliamentary democracy with institutional power controlled by the prime minister, the president has an important role as the head of the legal system and the commander of the armed forces.