The speaker of Albania's parliament has said that lawmakers will vote to elect the country's new president on April 19.

Ilir Meta said Thursday the first round of voting for the new president will be held next week, following a request from the governing Socialist Party's parliamentary group.

Albania's 140-seat parliament votes in five rounds. In the first three rounds the winner should secure at least three-fifth of the vote, or 84 backers, and at least 71 votes in in the last two rounds.

Candidates have to be proposed by a group of at least 20 lawmakers, though no name has emerged so far.

The president, with a five-year mandate and a maximum of two terms, has a largely ceremonial role.