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Former President and Former Prime Minister of The Republic of Albania. Chairman of The Democratic Party of Albania. 

A life dedicated to Freedon!

Sali Berisha  is an Albanian conservative politician who served as the president of Albania from 1992 to 1997 and 32nd prime minister from 2005 to 2013 and current chairman of the Democratic Party of Albania.

 

Life before politics

Berisha was born in Viçidol, then Tropojë District, in northern Albania. Berisha studied medicine at the University of Tirana, graduating in 1967. With a one-year scholarship, he specialized in cardiology in Paris.

During the 1970s, 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. He also conducted a research program on hemodynamics that attracted considerable attention among his colleagues in Europe. In 1986 he was elected to be a member of the European Committee for Research on Medical Sciences.

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, 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, to recognize the Human Rights Charter, the drafting of a new democratic constitution, and to remove all monuments of Stalin in the country.

In an article published in the Bashkimi newspaper on 17 September 1990, 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 no true democracy in Albania

President of Albania

Berisha emerged as the chairman of the Democratic Party of Albania (DP), the first and largest of the new opposition parties. All leading members of the party wore white coats during demonstrations. He was formally elected DP chairman in February 1991 at the party's first national congress.


 

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First Day of Democracy
1992

Former PResident Berisha and
Fromer President George H. W. Bush
at the white house, 1992

After the 1992 elections—the second free legislative elections held in the country—Berisha was elected president on 9 April 1992. He was the country's second freely elected head of state, and the first non-Communist head of state in 53 years.


 

Prime Minister of Albania

On 3 July 2005, Sali Berisha led a coalition of five right center parties into the 2005 parliamentary elections, which eventually won a majority of MPs. He was appointed Prime Minister of Albania on 8 September 2005.
 

On June 10, 2007, Berisha had a momentous encounter with U.S. President George W. Bush during his visit to Tirana, marking a historic occasion. 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."

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Former Prime Minister Sali Berisha
and Former PResident George w. Bush
at the historic visit in Albania, 2007

In 2009 during the government led by Berisha, more than 10,000 km of roads were built, connecting over 900 villages with the municipalities and 169 municipalities with the national road infrastructure with paved roads. To be mentioned are the Tirana-Elbasan road and, in particular, the Durrës-Kukës road, otherwise known as the "Nation Road", because it connected neighboring Kosovo with the city of Durrës. The latter crosses Albania from east to west and is the largest road project in the history of Albania. 

During Sali Berisha's tenure as the head of government, Albania achieved significant milestones, including its accession to NATO in 2009 and the attainment of Visa Liberalization in 2010. Furthermore, the Berisha administration garnered commendation from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for its vigorous efforts in combating corruption.

"Without a visa in Europe, the most special moment in the history of Albanian journeys throughout all times, opens the curtain to a Europe without walls. Best wishes to all Albanians!"

- Sali Berisha

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Berisha is married to Liri Berisha, a pediatrician. Liri Berisha is the president of Albanian Children Foundation. Her foundation focuses on children with autism and Down syndrome. The couple have two children, a daughter, Argita Malltezi who is a professor of law at the University of Tirana, and a son, Shkëlzen Berisha.

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