This chapter focuses on the change in political leadership in Albania following the 2013 parliamentary elections. In November 2012, as Albania celebrated 100 years of independence, Sali Berisha talked about “Albanian lands” in neighboring states—a breach of the long-standing deal to avoid nationalism. A few months later, at a conference in Munich with leaders from the Balkans and beyond, Berisha stressed the “national unity of the Albanians” from five different states. While most Western governments supported independence for Kosovo and decentralization in Macedonia, they rejected a larger Albanian state. In April 2013, the election campaign took a sudden turn. After four years in the ruling coalition, Ilir Meta and his Movement for Socialist Integration joined forces with Edi Rama and his Socialist Party. In the elections, the Socialists won sixty-six seats compared to the Democratic Party’s forty-nine and the Movement for Socialist Integration’s sixteen. In June 2014 the European Union approved Albania’s application for candidate status.
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