Berisha, Sali

Berisha, Sali sälēˈ bərĭˈshä [key], 1944–, Albanian political leader, b. Tropoja. A cardiologist and former Communist, he became involved in politics in the early 1990s, speaking publicly against the old system and for the democratization of Albania. He founded the Democratic party (DP) in 1991 and was first elected to parliament in 1991. In 1992, Berisha was elected president of Albania; he was reelected in 1996. He sought to attract foreign investment and develop the economy and infrastructure, but in 1996–97 the country was racked by the collapse of several pyramid investment schemes and many lost their savings. The government was accused of involvement in some of the schemes; an uprising brought an international peacekeeping force; and Berisha resigned (1997) as president. In 2005, after the DP won control of parliament, Berisha became prime minister. He remained in the post after the 2009 elections. After the DP lost the 2013 elections, he resigned as party leader as well as prime minister.

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