Albania: Outgoing rulers 'award themselves military HQ'

One the last acts in power of Albania's ruling party was to award itself a grand new HQ, courtesy of the defence ministry, according to reports.

But the move to transfer ownership of the Central Military Home to the Democratic Party sparked angry protests from ex-servicemen. The centre-right coalition which has ruled the mountainous Balkan state since 2005 remains in power until next month, despite losing June's elections. And last week it signed over the rights to the building, alongside parliament in the capital Tirana, reports satellite station Albanian Screen.

It's led to protests from dozens of ex-servicemen, who marched on the prime minister's office to demand it be turned into a historical centre and military memorial. Albania's Top TV quotes retired Col Mikado Shakohoxha as saying the building has cultural significance for the armed forces: "This is the place where relatives of the martyrs, invalids, veterans and military associations gather for special occasions." One military history professor argues it's an "immoral decision". However, the veterans needn't worry, it seems. The incoming defence minister has apparently pledged to hand back the centre to the military.

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