Albanian army chief voted in as new president

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TIRANA (Reuters) - Albania's parliament on Saturday voted in chief of defence Bajram Begaj as the country's new president, a largely ceremonial position.With 78 votes in favour in the 140-seat parliament, Begaj will run Albania’s highest office for the next five years. Major General Bajram Begaj, 55, became chief of defence of Albania's armed forces in 2020 after holding different positions within the army, mainly in the field of medicine.Begaj will take office in July from outgoing president Ilir Meta. He was elected in the fourth round of voting after three previous rounds failed to reach a consensus.

During the first three rounds, a majority of three-fifths of the votes was needed to vote in the new president. Begaj was elected with a simple majority with the votes of the ruling Socialist Party of Prime Minister Edi Rama.

The role of president is largely symbolic, though it has some powers over the judiciary and the military.

(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci and Florion Goga; Editing by Christina Fincher)