September 15, 2013

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania’s new Socialist prime minister has easily won approval for his government in parliament, pledging to fight poverty and unemployment and take the country closer to the European Union in the next four years.

Lawmakers voted 82-55 Sunday to approve the 20-member Cabinet. Edi Rama’s Socialist-led leftist coalition won a landslide election victory in June, defeating conservative Prime Minister Sali Berisha on pledges of fighting widespread corruption and bringing the NATO member closer to its goal of joining the EU.

The 49-year-old Rama has promised to create 300,000 jobs at home and reduce poverty. A recent survey shows one in seven Albanians live on less than $2 per day. Albania is one of Europe’s poorest countries, with a minimum salary of 21,000 leks ($199) per month.