Sali Berisha


name = Sali Berisha
order = Prime Minister of Albania
president = Alfred Moisiu
Bamir Topi
term_start = 11 September 2005
term_end =
predecessor = Fatos Nano
order2 = President of Albania
primeminister2 = Vilson Ahmeti
Aleksander Meksi
Bashkim Fino
term_start2 = 09 April 1992
term_end2 = 24 July 1997
predecessor2 = Ramiz Alia
successor2 = Rexhep Meidani
birth_date = birth date and age|1944|10|15|df=y
birth_place = Tropojë, Albania
death_date =
spouse = Liri Berisha
party = PD
profession = Cardiac surgeon
religion = Muslim [ [] Sali Berisha]
audio|Sq-Sali_Berisha.ogg|Dr Sali Ram Berisha, (born October 15, 1944) is the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania. He was also the president of Albania from 1992 to 1997.

Early life and career

Berisha was born in Vicidol, a village near the Kosovo border, in Albania's mountainous northeastern Tropojë region. He studied medicine at the University of Tirana, graduating in 1967. After advanced studies in Paris in the 1980s, he conducted a research program on hemodynamics. In 1968 he was elected member of the European Committee for Research on Medical Sciences. A member of Albania's communist Albanian Party of Labor, he had run the party organisation at the hospital's Cardiology Clinic. Berisha also taught medicine at the University of Tirana (1980 – 1990), published study books, textbooks and articles on cardiology, inside and internationally. He holds the scientific title Professor Doctor. He has worked as a heart surgeon and as a professor at the Cardiology Clinic in Tirana.

Fall of communism

Dr. Berisha's political career kicked off in 1989 when he demanded that the government slacken political control and allow dissent in articles he wrote in the local press. Sali Berisha was a member of the communist Labour Party of Albania (PPSH). When he realized that communism was about to end in Albania, he switched sides.

Berisha first condemned then supported a student strike in December 1990 at the University of Tirana which, within days, turned political and pressured the government to allow the creation of new parties in Albania. The Democratic Party of Albania was founded by students and intellectuals the 13th of the same month, and in 1991, Berisha was elected its chair, controlling it until now. He has been elected member of Albania's parliament in 1991, 1992, 1997, 2001 from the pro-Democratic Party constituency of Kavajë.

President (1992-1997)

After the first free elections of Albania, Berisha was elected President of the Republic on April 9, 1992. His administration, under Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi embraced free market policies including trade liberalization and privatization of state property, but also allowed the budding of Ponzi saving schemes. In the political field, he was seen as increasingly oppressive, urging the arrest and sentencing of opposition leader Fatos Nano. His loss of political support became clear in November 1994, when Berisha lost a constitutional referendum amidst fears the revisions he supported would have given him even more powers.

Despite many reforms, the administration was marred by corruption and abuses. Progress was stalled in 1995 and it resulted in declining public confidence on government institutions. Berisha's Democratic Party won a general election in May 26, 1996, which was marred by accusations of intimidation, manipulation and violent squelching of a peaceful opposition protests discrediting them. The country plunged into a political crisis, as Berisha and his Democratic Party bullheadedly refused to annul the elections – they had won four-fifths of the seats in parliament – and the opposition Socialists abandoned the institutions.

The collapse of the Ponzi schemes towards the end of 1996, where it is alleged that Albanians invested $1 billion worth of life savings since 1994, recapped the crisis. The schemes, which were naively portrayed as Albania's success story, lavishly supported the Democratic Party elections in May and November. Albanians, looking to the government for hints on the schemes, perceived a soothing message when Berisha said: "Albanians' money is the most dirt free in the world". The widespread rumor at the time was that the schemes were surviving because of widespread laundering of European criminal money by the schemes. To make an idea of what these schemes stand for in Albania, Albanian total population at that time was less than 3 million, and some 850 thousand people (many to multiple "saving" agents) invested money there. Coupled with the poverty of Albania the 1 billion $ sum is even more impressive.

The schemes failed, one by one, from December 1996, and demonstrators took to the streets to accuse the government of having stolen the money. Again, those demonstrations, which were now taken over by the opposition, were squelched. By March, military depots around the country were looted and for a time it looked like civil war would erupt between the government and demonstrators. Initially, Berisha refused opposition demands to step down. However, early elections were held in June 1997 and they led to the victory of a socialist-led coalition of parties. He resigned from the president's tenure one month after the loss of the elections of the DP and the victory of the left coalition. Since then he has been chair of the DP, the biggest opposition party. In July 1997, Berisha was replaced by the socialist Rexhep Meidani.

Sali Berisha is an Honorary Member of [ The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation]

Opposition (1997-2005) and Prime Minister (2005-2008)

Berisha's peevish record was maintained during the opposition, when he lost two elections, in 1997 and 2001, but refused to accept loss, alleging irregularities; he led continuous demonstrations demanding fresh elections, which, at times would turn violent. But a more moderate image in public, widespread discontent with rampant corruption and sumptuous arrogance of the Socialist Party, and a complex election bill ushered Berisha back to power in the general election of 3 July 2005.On September 3, 2005, after marathon legal challenges by ruling Socialists on election results, and negotiations with smaller parties, Berisha became Prime Minister.

On June 10, 2007, Sali Berisha met with U.S. President George W. Bush in Tirana. Bush became the first U.S. president to visit Albania and repeated his staunch support for the independence of neighbouring Kosovo from Serbia: "At some point in time, sooner rather than later, you've got to say, Enough is enough. Kosovo is independent." [ [ Bush Is Greeted Warmly in Albania - New York Times ] ]

Since March 15, 2008, Berisha faced the toughest challenge of his government when thousands of ammunitions blasted in the village of Gerdec near Tirana, causing the death of more than 27 people. His Defense Minister, Fatmir Mediu resigned, while the press reported many irregularities at the blast site, operated by an Albanian company that disactivated the country's aging ammunition and then sold it for scrap.

See also

* History of Albania
* List of Presidents of Albania


External links

* [ Official website]

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