TIRANA, Albania -- A number of courts in southern Albania have suspended all nationality change requests, local media reported on Wednesday (March 16th), amid suspected violations involved in the process. It is believed that in the Gjirokastra and Permet courts alone, about 2,000 citizens have changed their nationality from Albanian to Greek. The courts of Permet and Saranda have asked the Constitutional Court to interpret the law on marital status, on which these requests were based.
The issue has become a hot topic, with the civil society working now on a petition asking parliament and the president to annul some parts of the law on marital status. They say that an increased number of Albanians declaring themselves as Greeks will encourage Greek nationalists to claim control of territories in Albania. The main reason behind changing the nationality is to receive benefits from neighbouring Greece. The government recently postponed the census, originally due in April, arguing it would hinder campaigning ahead of the May 8th local elections. (VoA, Balkan Web, NOA, Ora News, Top Channel - 16/03/11)