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Premier Ministre d’Albanie
mardi 9 octobre

Born on October 15, 1944 Sali Berisha graduated at the medical faculty of the University of Tirana in 1967 “with honors”. He specialized in cardiology and was subsequently appointed as an assistant professor of medicine at the same university and as staff cardiologist at the Tirana General Hospital.

During the ‘70s Mr. Berisha gained distinction as the leading researcher in the field of cardiology in Albania and became professor of cardiology at the University of Tirana. In 1978 he received a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural (UNESCO) fellowship for nine months of advanced study and training in Paris.

Upon his return to Albania Berisha initiated a research program in homodynamic that attracted considerable attention among his colleagues in Europe. He was selected in 1986 as a member of the European Medical Research Committee of WHO, headquarters in Copenhagen where he worked for the elaboration of scientific researches strategies for “Health for all” of  Berisha’ international cardiological research studies were important and original; they were published in prestigious European Western Medical magazines and journals. In 1989 he was awarded the title Professor at the Tirana University.

With the death in 1985 of the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha, Sali Berisha hoped that the country’s new leader, Ramiz Alia, would repudiate his predecessor’s hard-line Stalinist policies young and encourage change. But, along with a growing number of Albanian intellectuals, students and young workers he was disappointed when these expectations were not realized. By 1989, as the countries of Eastern Europe began to abandon communism, Mr. Berisha and other advocates of reforms became more outspoken in their calls for change in Albania.

In October 1989 interview with the Albanian Television service, Mr. Berisha urged the regime to initiate a broad program of liberalization but the taped interview was not allowed to be aired. In early 1990, Berisha urged the regime to expand the scope of reforms by including the establishment of a multiparty democratic political system and a market economy. By the beginning of 1990 Mr. Berisha had emerged as one of the most respected spokespersons for the reform movement in Albania.

In an interview for the Albanian Writers League newspaper published also in the international press, Berisha demanded that the remaining barriers to freedom of thought and expression be ended, that Albanians be granted the right to travel freely within the country and abroad, and that Albania abandon its isolationist  foreign policy. At an August 1990 meeting of the nation’s intellectuals convened by President Ramiz Alia, Mr. Berisha urged the Albanian Party of Labor (APL) to abolish the third article of the communist constitution which sanctioned that the Party of Labor had the hegemony of the Power and to recognize Human Rights Charter, the drafting of a new  democratic constitution, and remove all monuments of Stalin in the country.

In an article, published in the “Bashkimi” newspaper on Sept. 17, 1990, Mr. Berisha condemned what he termed  the “cosmetic reforms” of the Alia regime, which had only served to aggravate unrest within the nation. Without political pluralism, he argued, there could be not true democracy in Albania.

In December 1990, Berisha joined in the very first day, a series of students demonstrations that forced the government to approve the establishment of a multi-party system, Mr. Berisha emerged as the leader of Democratic Party (DP), the first and largest of the new opposition parties. He was formally elected DP chairman in February 1991 at the party’s first national congress. Although the PD was unable to match the organizational and financial resources of the APL in the March 1991 parliamentary elections, it won 39 percent of the popular vote and emerged as the main opposition party in the People’s Assembly.

When the newly elected APL government, however, was unable to govern the country following the outbreak of a general strike called by noncommunist trade unions, the DP agreed to participate in a coalition government mandated to address the nation’s economic problems and make arrangements for a new election.  By December 1991 Mr. Berisha and DP had become sufficiently alarmed by the continued deterioration of the economy, breakdown of law and order, and reports of official corruption to withdraw from the ruling coalition and request new elections. The March 1992 parliamentary elections resulted in a dramatic reversal of the results of the previous year, with the Democratic Party winning 62 percent of the popular vote and 92 of the 140 seats in the People’s Assembly. Following the resignation of President Alia, the DP-dominated People’s Assembly on April 8, 1992, elected Sali Berisha to the position, as the first noncommunist head of state.

Following his election as the President of Republic of Albania, Mr. Sali Berisha and the democratic government were engaged into a profound course of political, economic, institutional, legislative and multifaceted reforms.  

Therefore, the complete privatization of land and residencies, as well as, of all small and medium state enterprises was accomplished over the period ’92-’96; the prices and the exchange rate were fully liberalized and, Albania changed from a country of a three figure inflation rate and economic growth regression of – 20% into a country with one figure inflation rate  and with an average economic growth rate of 9% in ’92 and, in ’93 – ’96, 75% of GDP was generated from the private sector.

Albania opened towards the West; it became a member of Council of Europe in 1995; it signed the Partnership for Peace Agreement in 1993 and it established a close cooperation with EU countries and USA.

All laws of communist dictatorship were replaced with new laws of European standards and a series of institutions, which have not been in place before, like Constitutional Court and High Council of Justice were established. 

In ’97, right after the rebellion organized by the former communists, who took advantage of the fraudulent pyramid schemes collapse, Mr. Berisha resigned from the President’s Office, since DP turned into an opposition party in the general parliamentary elections and he was, then, elected the Chairman of Democratic Party and this is a position that he has been holding from ’97 up to date.

Mr. Berisha led the coalition of the center right wing parties in the general political lections held in 5 rounds in June-August 2001. Although OSCE/ODIHR International Election Observation Mission called these elections as manipulated ones, the coalition won 37% of the votes.

On the 1st of July 2005 Sali Berisha leaded a coalition of five right center parties, which eventually won a majority of 74 MP’s from a total of 140. He was appointed Prime Minister of Albania on the 8th of September 2005, with a majority vote of 81 MP’s. 

He married Liri Rama, a pediatrician, and the couple has two children, a daughter, Argita, and a son, Shkelzen. He has a good command of the English, French, Italian and Russian language.