The Albanian parliament on Monday failed to elect a new president after no candidates were nominated for a third round of voting.
The governing left-wing Socialist Party and the opposition failed to reach a compromise on a candidate to replace President Ilir Meta, and no independent candidate was nominated.
In the first three rounds, the winner must secure at least three-fifths of the vote, or 84 lawmakers. The ruling Socialists – with 74 out of 140 seats in parliament – have so far lacked the votes to get a candidate through.
However, in the last two rounds, only a majority of 71 lawmakers is needed.
Though no votes were actually cast in the first three rounds on three consecutive Mondays, the parliament’s legal commission said it formally considered votes to have taken place.
The next attempt is scheduled for next Monday. The Socialists are expected to propose and vote on a candidate, though they have not said who that would be. Candidates are proposed by a group of at least 20 lawmakers.
Meta, in the post since July 2017, was once a member of the Socialist party before founding his smaller left-wing Socialist Movement for Integration. As president he has regularly clashed with the government and does not have its backing for a second term.
The five-year presidency has a largely ceremonial role, and is expected to stand above partisan divisions. It holds some authority over the judiciary and the armed forces and is limited to two terms. [AP]