Sali Ram Berisha (born 15 October 1944) is an Albanian politician who has been Prime Minister of Albania since 2005. A cardiologist by profession, Berisha leads the Democratic Party of Albania (PD) and served as President of Albania from 1992 to 1997.
A former secretary of the committee of the Party of Labor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Tirana, he abandoned his career as a cardiologist and university professor to become the leader of the Democratic Party in the 1990s. From 1992, after the fall of communism, he served as the President of Albania until his government collapsed in 1997 in the wake of the collapse of pyramid schemes. From 1997 to 2005, Albania was governed by the Socialist Party (PS) for two mandates, while he stayed in opposition.
In 2005, the Democratic Party won the general elections, and he became the Prime Minister after his coalition formed the new government. In 2009, he was re-elected Prime Minister, after the Democrats declared a narrow win of general elections but were forced into a coalition with the Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI) through not winning enough seats on its own for the first time since the start of multi-party democracy in 1991.
Sali Berisha is married to Liri Berisha , a pediatrician. The couple has two children, a daughter, Argita Malltezi (nee Berisha), and a son, Shkëlzen Berisha.
Early Life and Career
Berisha was born in Viçidol, Tropojë District, Kukës County, northern Albania, near the border with Kosovo. He studied medicine at the University of Tirana, graduating in 1967. 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. At the same time, Berisha became a member of a discussion forum for changes in the Albanian Party of Labor while having been enrolled as a member a few years earlier. Apart from his native Albanian, he speaks English, Italian and French fluently. 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. Upon his return to Albania, Berisha 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, where he worked for the elaboration of scientific researches strategies for “Health for all”. 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.
In December 1990, Berisha joined, on the very first day, a series of student demonstrations that forced the government to approve the establishment of a multi-party system. Berisha emerged as the leader of the Democratic Party of Albania (DP), the first and largest of the new opposition parties. It is interesting to note that all leading members of the party wore white coats during demonstrations, while Berisha was heard thanking Ramiz Alia when meeting with the students and was seen driving around Skanderbeg Square with a government vehicle. He was formally elected DP chairman in February 1991 at the party’s first national congress. He was elected member of Albania parliament in 1991, 1992, 1997, 2001 from the constituency of Kavajë.
From : www.wikipedia.org