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Balkan developments

During EP elections in Slovenia, citizens also voted for preferential voting, assisted dying and cannabis for medical purposes

In the European Parliament elections in Slovenia on June 9, turnout exceeded 41% - the highest since 2004. Four consultative referendums on assisted dying, the preferential vote in the general election, medical cannabis and cannabis for personal use likely gave voters an additional impetus to go to the polls. About 70% of voters voted for the introduction of preferential voting in the parliamentary elections, 67% supported cannabis for medical purposes, about 51% supported cannabis for limited personal use, and just under 55% supported the right to help in voluntary termination of life, the Slovenian Press Agency reports.

In the European Parliament elections, the opposition party of political veteran and former Prime Minister Janez Janša (Slovenian Democratic Union) won a convincing victory with 30.8% and 4 out of 9 seats. The Freedom Movement of Prime Minister Robert Golob retains 2 parliamentary seats with 22%, the "Vesna" party, the Socialists and "New Slovenia" took one seat each.

Jailed ethnic Greek from Albania becomes MEP

Fredi Beleri

Fredi Beleri, an ethnic Greek from Albania, elected mayor of the Albanian municipality of Himare, became a member of the European Parliament from prison. The election campaign was run by his son Petros. "Kathimerini" reports that Beleri collected nearly 240,000 votes as a candidate of the conservative "New Democracy", member of which is also Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Giorgos Aftias a popular journalist and TV presenter collected the biggest number of votes – more than 307,000.

Beleri was arrested two days before Albania's local elections on May 14, 2023, in which he was elected mayor, on charges of vote-buying. In March this year, he was sentenced to two years in prison and is serving his sentence. Greece questioned the fairness of the trial against him and made it clear that this could jeopardize Albania's European integration.

Turkey plans to become a world energy hub

After talks at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum with Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Alexander Kozlov, Turkish Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar announced that Turkey and Russia plan to establish an energy and mining exchange in Istanbul. His words were confirmed by Turkish President Recep Erdogan, who said that negotiations on the subject with Russian representatives are underway. "We will implement various projects for the supply of energy products to Europe and the world through our country. With the gas hub that will be established in Turkey, progress will be made in both energy transmission and pricing," Erdogan said, expressing confidence that thanks to investments in recent years, Turkey will become an energy hub for natural gas. "We are getting closer to our goal of turning Turkey first into a regional and then into a world energy hub," the Turkish president said, quoted by TRT.

Albania presents Shota – its first locally produced armoured vehicle

Albania presented its first locally produced armoured vehicle, the Albanian Radio and Television reported, quoted by BTA. Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama published footage of the military vehicle called "Shota" on social networks. The manufacturer of "Shota" is the Timak company. Shota shows that Albania has the ability to patent its own product, which comes at a time when the Albanian government is looking to revive the military industry, the media pointed out. At the beginning of April this year, Rama stated that the country's ambitions include having "Made in Albania" military exports by 2030, as well as to equip the Albanian army with Albanian-made weapons.

Compiled by: Miglena Ivanova

Publication in English: Alexander Markov

Photos:dnevnik.si, Facebook/Fredi Beleri, enerji.gov.tr, noa.al

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