By Benet Koleka
TIRANA (Reuters) - The junior partner in Albania's ruling coalition pulled out of government on Wednesday and allied itself with the opposition Socialist Party ahead of parliamentary elections on June 23.
Prime Minister Sali Berisha promptly named three ministers to replace those who left his cabinet when their Socialist Integration Movement (SIM) withdrew from government and said he was confident parliament would approve his nominees on Thursday.
Berisha's entered a coalition with the leftist SIM after 2009 polls in which his centre-right Democrats won just half of the 140 seats.
But SIM leader Ilir Meta strongly hinted his party's four members of parliament would not seek to remove Berisha, saying he expected change to come through the popular vote in June.
Albania has been denied European Union candidate status because of its failure to pass the necessary legislation. Meta said his party and the Socialists would pass the package of laws before parliament disbands to achieve EU candidate status this year.
Albania is under pressure from both the United States and the European Union to hold free and fair elections this year as a condition for advancing its EU bid. Its economy has avoided recession but its gross domestic product grew last year by just 1.6 percent, its lowest level for 16 years.
(Reporting by Benet Koleka; Editing by Jon Hemming)
Video: The shooting of Laquan McDonald
David Axelrod told where to direct his questions about shooting death of Laquan McDonald
Where Is Liberal Rage Over Mass Shooting In New Orleans? | RedState
Obamacare Architect: Okay Fine, Our Law Isn't Controlling Costs
How Not To Be A Gun Owner - Bearing Arms - Crime, Texas, Training, Warning Shots
Exposed: Obama’s Love for Jihadis and Hate for Christians | Human Events
- What Is Your U.S. Income Percentile Ranking?