Government of Albania - History

Government of Albania - History

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citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Albania
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President of the Republic Ilir META (since 24 July 2017)
head of government: Prime Minister Edi RAMA (since 10 September 2013); Deputy Prime Minister Senida MESI (since 13 September 2017)
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by the Assembly
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the Assembly for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); a candidate needs three-fifths majority vote of the Assembly in 1 of 3 rounds or a simple majority in 2 additional rounds to become president; election last held in 4 rounds on 19, 20, 27, and 28 April 2017 (next election to be held in 2022); prime minister appointed by the president on the proposal of the majority party or coalition of parties in the Assembly
election results: Ilir META elected president; Assembly vote - 87 - 2 in fourth round
Legislative branch:
description: unicameral Assembly or Kuvendi (140 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 25 June 2017 (next to be held in 2021)
election results: percent of vote by party - PS 48.3%, PD 28.9%, LSI 14.3%, PDIU 4.8%, PSD 1%, other 2.7%; seats by party - PS 74, PD 43, LSI 19, PDIU 3, PSD 1
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 17 judges, including the chief justice); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges, including the chairman)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges, including the chairman, appointed by the president with the consent of the Assembly to serve single 9-year terms; Constitutional Court judges appointed by the president with the consent of the Assembly to serve single 9-year terms with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years; chairman elected by the People's Assembly for a single 3-year term
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance
Political parties and leaders:
Democratic Party or PD [Lulzim BASHA]
Party for Justice, Integration and Unity or PDIU [Shpetim IDRIZI] (formerly part of APMI)
Social Democratic Party or PSD [Skender GJINUSHI]
Socialist Movement for Integration or LSI [Monika KRYEMADHI]
Socialist Party or PS [Edi RAMA]

Albania timeline

1939 - Shortly before the start of World War II, Italy invades. King Zog flees to Greece.

1940 - Italian army attacks Greece through Albania.

1941 - Enver Hoxha becomes head of new Albanian Communist Party.

1943 - German forces invade and occupy Albania following Italian surrender.

1944 - Germans withdraw after Communist resistance. Enver Hoxha installed as new leader.

1945 - Tribunals begin against thousands of "war criminals".

1946 - Purges of non-communists from government positions.

1948 - Albania breaks ties with Yugoslavia Soviet Union begins economic aid to Albania.

1950 - Britain and US back landings by right-wing guerillas, who fail to topple communists.

1955 - Albania becomes a founding member of the Warsaw Pact.

1961 - Albania allies itself with China, after Soviet Union breaks diplomatic relations over ideological rift.

1967 - Violent clampdown on religious activity. Albania declared the world's first atheist state.

1968 - Albania withdraws from Warsaw Pact over Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.

1978 - China ends economic and military aid to Albania after relations become strained by China's reconciliation with the US.

1985 - Hoxha dies, replaced by Ramiz Alia.

1989 - Communist rule in Eastern Europe collapses. Ramiz Alia signals changes to economic system.

1990 - Independent political parties formed. Albanians granted right to travel abroad. Thousands try to flee through Western embassies.

Thousands more seize ships at port and sail illegally to Italy.

1991 - In multiparty elections, the Communist Party and allies win 169 of the 250 seats, the newly-formed Democratic Party takes 75.

General amnesty for political prisoners. First opposition newspaper published.

Alia re-elected president. Prime Minister Fatos Nano resigns after protests at economic conditions and killing of opposition demonstrators.

New government headed by Vilson Ahmeti.

1992 - Democratic Party wins elections. Party leader Sali Berisha, a former cardiologist, becomes first elected president. Aleksander Meksi is prime minister.

1993 - Ex-communist leaders, including Fatos Nano and Ramiz Alia, convicted and jailed for corruption.

1994 - National referendum rejects new constitution which opponents said allowed president too much power.

1995 - Alia released from prison following appeal-court ruling.

1996 - Democratic Party general election victory tainted by accusations of fraud.

1997 - Leka, son of late King Zog, returns from exile in bid to take throne. Referendum on restoration of monarchy fails. He is accused of trying to stir up an armed insurrection and flees back into exile.

Fraudulent pyramid investment schemes collapse, costing thousands of Albanians their savings and triggering anti-government protests.

Up to a million weapons are looted from army stores as angry mobs take to the streets.

Government resigns and Socialist-led coalition sweeps to power. Fatos Nano, now released from prison, returns as prime minister.

Sali Berisha resigns as president in wake of financial crisis, succeeded by Socialist leader Rexhep Mejdani.

Convictions of communist-era leaders overturned.

1998 - Escalating unrest in Kosovo sends refugees across border into Albania.

September - Violent anti-government street protests after prominent opposition Democratic Party politician, Azem Hajdari, shot dead by unidentified gunmen.

PM Fatos Nano quits. Former student activist, Pandeli Majko, named as new prime minister.

1999 - Nato air strikes against Yugoslav military targets. In Kosovo thousands flee attacks by Serb forces. Mass refugee exodus into Albania.

October - Majko resigns as prime minister in October 1999, after losing Socialist Party leadership vote. 30-year-old Iler Meta becomes Europe's youngest prime minister.

2001 January - Albania and Yugoslavia re-establish diplomatic relations broken off during the Kosovo crisis in 1999.

2001 April - UN says thousands of Albanians are being poisoned by fatal toxins in their environment, urges international community to help.

2001 July - Ruling Socialist Party secures second term in office by winning general elections. PM Meta names European integration and an end to energy shortages as his priorities. Meta heads a new coalition government from September.

2001 December - Rift widens between Meta and his Socialist Party Chairman Fatos Nano. Nano prompts three ministers to resign and blocks the appointment of their replacements.

2002 January - Meta resigns as prime minister after failing to resolve party feud.

2002 February - Pandeli Majko becomes premier and forms new government as rival factions in Socialist Party pledge to end infighting.

2002 June - Parliament elects Alfred Moisiu president after rival political leaders Nano and Berisha reach compromise, easing months of tension.

Royal family returns from exile.

2002 August - Fatos Nano becomes prime minister after the ruling Socialist Party decides to merge the roles of premier and party chairman. It is Nano's fourth time as premier.

2003 January - Albania and EU begin Stabilisation and Association Agreement talks, seen as possible first step in long road to EU membership.

2004 January - Day of mourning declared after at least 20 people die when the boat on which they were trying to cross to Italy illegally breaks down in mid-Adriatic.

2004 February - Opposition stages angry demonstration in Tirana to demand Mr Nano's resignation and protest against government failure to improve living standards.

2005 September - After two months of political wrangling, former president Sali Berisha emerges as the victor in July's general election.

2006 April - Parliament imposes ban on speedboats in coastal waters in bid to crackdown on people and drug smuggling.

2006 June - Stabilisation and Association agreement signed with EU.

2007 June - President George W Bush becomes the first US leader to visit Albania, highlighting its position as a close ally of Washington.

2007 July - Parliament elects ruling party chairman Bamir Topi president, after three failed rounds of voting made a snap election look possible.

2008 March - Defence Minister Fatmir Mediu resigns over arms depot blasts that killed 16 and damaged Tirana airport.

2009 April - Albania officially joins NATO and formally applies for membership of the European Union. Albania is not expected to join the EU until 2015 at the earliest.

2009 July - Sali Berisha's centre-right Democratic Party wins parliamentary elections by a narrow margin.

2009 November - Opposition Socialist Party begins series of demonstrations in Tirana in protest against alleged vote-rigging in the 2009 election.

2010 May - Socialist leader Edi Rama calls for a campaign of civil disobedience to continue until government agrees to a partial recount of 2009 election.

2010 November - European Union rejects Albania's request for EU candidate status, but eases visa requirements for Albanians.

2011 January - Deadly clashes leave four anti-government protesters dead in demonstration about corruption and alleged election vote rigging outside the prime minister's office in Tirana.

2011 February - Parliament strips former economy minister Dritan Prifti of his immunity from prosecution over the corruption allegations. Former deputy prime minister Ilan Meta is already being investigated over the deal to build a power station. Both men deny any wrongdoing.

2011 December - Former intelligence chief Ilir Kumbaro, wanted on torture charges in Albania, jumps bail and goes missing in London, where he had been hiding under a false name since 1996.


Albania (/ælˈbeɪniə, ɔːl-/ a(w)l-BAY-nee-ə Albanian: Shqipëri or Shqipëria Gheg Albanian: Shqipni or Shqipnia also Shqypni or Shqypnia), officially the Republic of Albania (Albanian: Republika e Shqipërisë, pronounced [ɾɛpuˈblika ɛ ʃcipəˈɾiːsə]), is a country in Southeast Europe on the Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Mediterranean Sea. It shares land borders with Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, North Macedonia to the east, Greece to the south and maritime borders with Greece, Montenegro and Italy to the west.

The sovereign state of Albania is a unitary state defined in a total area of 28,748 square kilometres (11,100 square miles). It is apportioned into 12 counties each with their own council and administration.[149] The counties are the country's primary administrative divisions and further subdivided into 61 municipalities.[150] They are responsible for geographical, economic, social and cultural purposes inside the counties.

The counties were created on 31 July 2000 to replace the 36 former districts.[151][152] The government introduced the new administrative divisions to be implemented in 2015, whereby municipalities were reduced to 61, while the rurals were abolished. The defunct municipalities are known as neighborhoods or villages.[153][154] There are overall 2980 villages or communities in the entire country, formerly known as localities. The municipalities are the first level of local governance, responsible for local needs and law enforcement.[155][156][157]

The largest county in Albania, by population, is Tirana County with over 800,000 people followed by Fier County with over 300,000 people. The smallest county, by population, is Gjirokastër County with over 70,000 people. The largest in the county, by area, is Korçë County encompassing 3,711 square kilometres (1,433 sq mi) of the southeast of Albania followed by Shkodër County with 3,562 square kilometres (1,375 sq mi) in the northwest of Albania. The smallest county, by area, is Durrës County with an area of 766 square kilometres (296 sq mi) in the west of Albania.

Albania History

Elections in March 1991 gave the Communists a decisive majority. But a general strike and street demonstrations soon forced the all-Communist cabinet to resign. In June 1991, the Communist Party of Labor renamed itself the Socialist Party and renounced its past ideology. The opposition Democratic Party won a landslide victory in the 1992 elections, and Sali Berisha, a former cardiologist, became Albania's first elected president. The following year, ex-Communists, including Ramiz Alia and former prime minister Fatos Nano, were imprisoned on corruption charges.

But Albania's experiment with democratic reform and a free-market economy went disastrously awry in March 1997, when large numbers of its citizens invested in shady get-rich-quick pyramid schemes. When five of these schemes collapsed in the beginning of the year, robbing Albanians of an estimated $1.2 billion in savings, Albanians' rage turned against the government, which appeared to have sanctioned the nationwide swindle. Rioting broke out, the country's fragile infrastructure collapsed, and gangsters and rebels overran the country, plunging it into virtual anarchy. A multinational protection force eventually restored order and set up the elections that formally ousted President Sali Berisha.

In spring 1999, Albania was heavily involved in the affairs of its fellow ethnic Albanians to the north, in Kosovo. Albania served as an outpost for NATO troops and took in approximately 440,000 Kosovar refugees, about half the total number of ethnic Albanians who were driven from their homes in Kosovo.


Economic overview

Albania, a formerly closed, centrally planned state, is a developing country with a modern open-market economy. Albania managed to weather the first waves of the global financial crisis but, the negative effects of the crisis caused a significant economic slowdown. Since 2014, Albania&rsquos economy has steadily improved and economic growth reached 3.8% in 2017. However, close trade, remittance, and banking sector ties with Greece and Italy make Albania vulnerable to spillover effects of possible debt crises and weak growth in the euro zone.

Remittances, a significant catalyst for economic growth, declined from 12-15% of GDP before the 2008 financial crisis to 5.8% of GDP in 2015, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy. The agricultural sector, which accounts for more than 40% of employment but less than one quarter of GDP, is limited primarily to small family operations and subsistence farming, because of a lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. Complex tax codes and licensing requirements, a weak judicial system, endemic corruption, poor enforcement of contracts and property issues, and antiquated infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment making attracting foreign investment difficult. Since 2015, Albania has launched an ambitious program to increase tax compliance and bring more businesses into the formal economy. In July 2016, Albania passed constitutional amendments reforming the judicial system in order to strengthen the rule of law and to reduce deeply entrenched corruption.

Albania&rsquos electricity supply is uneven despite upgraded transmission capacities with neighboring countries. However, the government has recently taken steps to stem non-technical losses and has begun to upgrade the distribution grid. Better enforcement of electricity contracts has improved the financial viability of the sector, decreasing its reliance on budget support. Also, with help from international donors, the government is taking steps to improve the poor road and rail networks, a long standing barrier to sustained economic growth.

Inward foreign direct investment has increased significantly in recent years as the government has embarked on an ambitious program to improve the business climate through fiscal and legislative reforms. The government is focused on the simplification of licensing requirements and tax codes, and it entered into a new arrangement with the IMF for additional financial and technical support. Albania&rsquos three-year IMF program, an extended fund facility arrangement, was successfully concluded in February 2017. The Albanian Government has strengthened tax collection amid moderate public wage and pension increases in an effort to reduce its budget deficit. The country continues to face high public debt, exceeding its former statutory limit of 60% of GDP in 2013 and reaching 72% in 2016.

FACT SHEET: Anti-Corruption

Corruption continues to be a complex and pervasive challenge in Albania, impeding economic growth and damaging the faith of citizens in government. While the legal framework and inter-agency structures to reduce corruption are in place, including the recently passed judicial reform, implementation remains uneven. The 2014 Worldwide Governance Indicators for Albania (the most recent available), collected by the World Bank, show that the country ranks very poorly in terms of government effectiveness (51.9 percentile), rule of law (40.9 percentile), and control of corruption (35.6 percentile). Further, government officials are rarely charged or held accountable for crimes.

USAID/Albania projects address the issues of implementation through our support to strengthen systems of accountability in public administration and the judiciary and through increased transparency and efficiency. We work in partnership with government institutions, media, and civil society organizations to support transparent and efficient systems that limit the opportunities for corruption in administrative, judicial, and financial sectors and hold public officials accountable to citizens. We are enhancing performance and management capabilities in the judicial, local governance, and financial sectors, as well as within political parties in terms of financing and with election institutions laying the groundwork for planning and policy reforms and enhancing citizen oversight and transparency through strengthened civil society.



The lack of transparency in the judicial system correlates to increased opportunities for corruption and undermines public confidence in the courts. At a fundamental level, the rule of law requires a clear and consistent legal framework, where public officials and institutions are held accountable, disputes are settled peacefully and effectively, and citizens have confidence in the operations of their justice system.

USAID assistance also consists of actions designed to bring justice sector institutions closer to these ideals. Citizen confidence in the justice system requires transparency and openness — such as improving courtroom scheduling to assure trials take place in public courtrooms. Public satisfaction with the administration of justice requires a level of efficiency and a basic belief in the fairness in court procedures — such as applying modern management principles to the processing of cases passing through the court system. USAID partners with OSCE in introducing active case management practices in Albania’s District Courts. This work will minimize or eliminate court delays, leading to increased public satisfaction and confidence in the justice system. USAID also works with civil society and investigative journalists to monitor the implementation of judicial reforms in courts and increase their capacities to advocate for further reforms.

In partnership with IREX, a leading international organization with extensive experience in supporting media development and investigative journalism, USAID will support investigative reporters, as well as other journalists to become a trusted arbiter on the government’s claims of progress on anti-corruption measures. Specifically, USAID will support journalists and media to engage in investigating economic crimes and corruption. Journalists and media are being supported through grants to support content and editorial development and publication of investigative pieces as well as capacity building for those working in the field of investigative journalism.


USAID is assisting reforms to the Government of Albania’s decentralization policies and laws so that local governments will be more accountable and transparent in planning and allocating resources. USAID has also assisted the drafting of a new law on how the Government allocates unconditional grant funds to municipalities which would make the process more stable, transparent, and predictable in order to avoid political favoritism and corruption at both the central and local levels. USAID is also advocating for the unconditional grant fund to be based on a percentage of national revenues, enabling citizens to calculate the expected amount to be received, improving transparency and oversight. Furthermore USAID has assisted the GOA in the development of a first-ever comprehensive Local Government Finance Law (LGFL). This law should provide a more logical and consistent legal framework, clarify fiscal and financial authorities and the revenue-raising capacities of local governments, improve stabilize and make more transparent and predictable the intergovernmental transfer system, strengthen local public finance management, and enhance intergovernmental dialogue and consultation.


Corruption is a persistent problem throughout Albania, with an increased incidence in the health sector leading to reduced community access to appropriate and high quality healthcare. USAID works to build the capacities of the three governmental agencies and selected civil society organizations and media sources to reduce the space for corruption in the health sector. Working with the High Inspectorate for the Declaration and Audit of Assets and Conflict of Interest (HIDAACI), The High State Audit, and the Office of the Ombudsman, the project will generate evidence through performance audits, complaint investigations, and asset reporting design and implement assessments to measure corruption and relevant mediating factors and perform public sector reforms and audits.


Local organizations can play an important role in improving governance and fighting corruption. They are closest to government service delivery and best able to determine its effectiveness. With training and guidance provided by USAID, they will also be able to comment on the efficiency of provision of government services. USAID is awarding grants to local organizations, to target selected areas, including (but not limited to) election oversight, anti-corruption, and increased citizen oversight. This increased scrutiny and oversight is expected to prompt reform and improvement of service delivery.


USAID is helping to computerize financial and tax system works in 11 local government units to improve tax collection, increase tax revenues, and reduce the number of one-on-one interactions with tax officials which are cited as a source of corrupt practices. Since USAID’s support first started in 2014, the 11 local governments have managed to generate more than 700,000 tax bills, of which 550,000 are for business taxes and 150,000 are for family taxes. In addition, USAID developed a dedicated application called “Fix My City,” operational in six cities, enabling citizens to report various problems and monitor action taken to address the reported problem. This application was replicated by the central government for all the 61 Municipalities.


USAID is assisting urban territorial planning for partner municipalities to establish a transparent land development process. In the five municipalities where USAID drafted General Local Territorial Plans more than 40% of construction is illegal or informal. Having approved plans in place means there will be fewer opportunities to issue illegal construction permits and to follow corrupt building practices.


USAID has prepared a “Citizens’ Guide to the Local Budget” to facilitate citizens’ participation in policy formulation and effective monitoring of financial activities at the local level. This information allows citizens to effectively participate in policy making while simultaneously increasing the transparency and accountability of the local governments. Citizen Advisory Panels have been established in 13 partner municipalities, enabling more than 300 citizens to participate in local budget and planning meetings with municipal officials.

The Communist History of Albania

Albania’s relationship with communism only came to an end in March 1992 but its legacy can still be seen to this day in its architecture and the 700,000 dome-shaped bunkers that pepper the country from north to south. These bunkers were built by the regime of Enver Hoxha over the course of his 40-year dictatorship as a precaution against the invasion he was convinced was coming, but that never came. Today they stand as a reminder of what happened as well as acting as an interesting to curious tourists and history buffs.

The communist party in Albania came to power in November 1944 and the first steps they took as rulers were to consolidate as much power as possible. In January 1945 a special court was set up in Tirana under the new Minister of the Interior, Koci Xoxe which was supposed to facilitate the prosecution of war criminals. Unfortunately, this court was never used for this purpose and instead it was a front for the oppression of actual or suspected opponents of the new regime who were unjustly sentenced to death or life imprisonment. By March of the same year, wealth and private property including land were seized through the means of a special profit tax, and almost overnight the middle classes ceased to exist.

The regimes strength began to increase and infiltrate every part of Albanian life. The reins of power were tightened and began to choke the country as the leader, Enver Hoxha aligned himself with Joseph Stalin’s Soviet regime in a bid to preserve and strengthen his position of power. This alliance with the Soviet Union provided Albania with many advantages in the form of economic assistance and military protection from neighbouring Yugoslavia as well as the West during the height of the Cold War. As Albania integrated itself into this Soviet world, it also began a period of extreme isolation from the rest of the world and that would last for decades. The party ruled with an iron fist and sought to create a siege mentality that would stifle any opposition- a tactic that is reflected in the phrase “Ndërtojmë socializmin duke mbajtur në njërën dorë kazmën dhe në tjetrën pushkën” (We are building socialism with a pickaxe in one hand and a rifle in the other). By 1955, Stalinist ideals were present in every sphere of Albanian society, it was completely cut off from the rest of the world, and fear ruled supreme.

But this love affair did not endure and by December 1961, Hoxha had decried revisionism as a result of Nikita Khrushchev’s assertation that Stalinism was nothing more than a criminal cult of personality. The Soviet Union cut all ties with Albania, and the Hoxha spin-machine went into overdrive to maintain his Stalinist-policies, whilst distancing himself from criticism and continuing to strengthen his power. By 1975, Albanian society was completely radicalised in terms of politics and society and in a bid to stem the tide of dissatisfaction with his rule, Hoxha began a campaign of terror that rippled throughout the whole country. His forces purged the country of intellectuals, writers, freethinkers, and suspected opponents or critics which plunged the country into confusion and insecurity, whilst contributing to a social setback that would resonate for decades.

Enver Hoxha’s constricting control of the country lasted until his death on April 11, 1985. During his rule, whilst he was responsible for eliminating adult literacy, building Albania’s first railway line, and rebuilding the devastation left after WWII, he was also responsible for the death and disappearance of up to 100,000 people. The consequences of his brutal and oppressive rule, as well as the isolation that he plunged the country into, are still felt today and Albania is still struggling to shake off the horrors of its past.

After his death, the reigns of the Partia e Punes e Shqiperise were handed to Ramiz Alia who began to loosen the policies and enforced ideas of his predecessor. Whilst the fundamental ethos of the party remained the same, Alia gradually introduced economic and social reforms, as well as reopening diplomatic ties with the Western world, slowly bringing an end to the self-imposed isolation of the previous years.

By 1989, the vibration of revolution was in the air and protests began to break out in various cities such as Shkodra and the capital Tirana. The regime was forced to further relax their grip and in 1990, it granted Albanians the freedom to travel abroad. With the new-found liberalism in Albania, Alia realised that if he wanted to retain his power, he would have to be seen to be more democratic and sympathetic to Western ideals so in 1991 the country held its first pluralist elections, which of course, Alia’s party won. This was not enough to halt the transition to capitalism that was so desperately wanted by the people, and opposition to his rule came to a head when students from the University of Tirana took to the streets to protest. After state police crushed the protestors, Ramiz invited a delegation of the students to discuss their concerns and work together to create a compromise.

Within months and after two rounds of elections and a general strike, Ramiz Alia resigned as president and Albania’s first democratically elected leader in decades- Berisha- took charge. Unfortunately, his election was not quite the salvation that the people had been hoping for. Citizens became frustrated with his increasingly authoritarian rule, the silencing of the media and civil society, and the lack of progress in terms of social and economic reform. In the 1996 elections, his Democratic Party tried to win with an absolute majority through the manipulation of results, and this combined with the collapse of Ponzi Schemes and widespread corruption led to the fall of the government in 1997, spreading rebellion and chaos throughout the country. Berisha’s government desperately tried to cling to power by force, but without the backing of the disillusioned military, these attempts proved to be futile.

Today, Albania is governed by the Socialist Party (the former communist party) which is ruled by its party head and Prime Minister Edi Rama.

A Guide to the United States’ History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Kosovo

Early History: The Ottomans ruled Kosovo for more than four centuries, until Serbia acquired the territory during the First Balkan War in 1912-13.

The 20th Century: First partitioned in 1913 between Serbia and Montenegro, Kosovo was then incorporated into the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later named Yugoslavia) after World War I. During World War II, parts of Kosovo were absorbed into Italian-occupied Albania. After the Italian capitulation, Nazi Germany assumed control over Kosovo until Tito’s Yugoslav Partisans entered at the end of the war.

After World War II, Kosovo became an autonomous province of Serbia in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (S.F.R.Y.). The 1974 Yugoslav Constitution gave Kosovo (along with Vojvodina) the status of a Socialist Autonomous Province within Serbia. As such, it possessed nearly equal rights as the six constituent Socialist Republics of the S.F.R.Y.

In 1981, riots broke out and were violently suppressed after Kosovo Albanians demonstrated to demand that Kosovo be granted full Republic status. In the late 1980s, Slobodan Milosevic propelled himself to power in Belgrade by exploiting the fears of the Serbian minority in Kosovo. In 1989, he eliminated Kosovo’s autonomy and imposed direct rule from Belgrade. Belgrade ordered the firing of most ethnic Albanian state employees, whose jobs were then assumed by Serbs.

In response, Kosovo Albanian leaders began a peaceful resistance movement in the early 1990s, led by Ibrahim Rugova. They established a parallel government funded mainly by the Albanian diaspora. When this movement failed to yield results, an armed resistance emerged in 1997 in the form of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). The KLA’s main goal was to secure the independence of Kosovo.

In late 1998, Milosevic unleashed a brutal police and military campaign against the KLA, which included widespread atrocities against civilians. Milosevic’s failure to agree to the Rambouillet Accords triggered a NATO military campaign to halt the violence in Kosovo. This campaign consisted primarily of aerial bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (F.R.Y.), including Belgrade, and continued from March through June 1999. After 78 days of bombing, Milosevic capitulated. Shortly thereafter, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1244 (1999), which suspended Belgrade’s governance over Kosovo, and under which Kosovo was placed under the administration of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and which authorized a NATO peacekeeping force. Resolution 1244 also envisioned a political process designed to determine Kosovo’s future status.

As ethnic Albanians returned to their homes, elements of the KLA conducted reprisal killings and abductions of ethnic Serbs and Roma in Kosovo. Thousands of ethnic Serbs, Roma, and other minorities fled from their homes during the latter half of 1999, and many remain displaced.

The 21st Century: In November 2005, the Contact Group (France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) produced a set of “Guiding Principles” for the resolution of Kosovo’s future status. Some key principles included: no return to the situation prior to 1999, no changes in Kosovo’s borders, and no partition or union of Kosovo with a neighboring state. The Contact Group later said that Kosovo’s future status had to be acceptable to the people of Kosovo.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008. In its declaration of independence, Kosovo committed to fulfilling its obligations under the Ahtisaari Plan, to embrace multi-ethnicity as a fundamental principle of good governance, and to welcome a period of international supervision.

The United States formally recognized Kosovo as a sovereign and independent state on February 18. To date, Kosovo has been recognized by a robust majority of European states, the United States, Japan, and Canada, and by other states from the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Shortly after independence, a number of states established an International Steering Group (ISG) for Kosovo that appointed Dutch diplomat Pieter Feith as Kosovo’s first International Civilian Representative (ICR).

Republic of Albania | Shqipëria

Local Time = UTC +1h (in Summer UTC +2)
Actual Time: Sun-June-20 16:56

Capital City: Tirana (pop. 600 000)

Other Cities: Durres (200 000), Shkoder (81 000), Vlore (72 000, 2005 est.)

Type: Parliamentary republic.
Constitution: Adopted by popular referendum 28 November 1998.
Independence:28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire).

Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea.
Area: 28,748 km² (11,100 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Situated in the southwestern region of the Balkan Peninsula, Albania is predominantly mountainous but flat along its Adriatic Sea coastline.
Highest peak: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2764 m.

Climate: Mediterranean, Mild temperate--short, soft, wet winters hot and dry summers.

Nationality: Albanian(s)
Population: 2.8 million (2015)
Ethnic groups: Albanian 98.6%, Greeks 1.17%, others 0.23% (Vlachs, Roma, Serbs, Montenegrins, Macedonians, Egyptians, and Bulgarians).
Religions: Muslim (Sunni and Bektashi) 70%, Albanian Orthodox 20%, and Roman Catholic 10%.
Official Language: Albanian.
Literacy: 86.5% male: 93.3%, female: 79.5%

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower.

Agriculture products: Wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes meat, dairy products.

Industries: Food processing, textiles and clothing lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower.

Exports - commodities: textiles and footwear asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil vegetables, fruits, tobacco.

Exports - partners: Italy 43.4%, Kosovo 9.8%, US 7.7%, China 6.2%, Greece %, Spain 4.8% (2015)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals

Imports - partners: Italy 33.5%, Greece 9%, China 10.1%, Germany 5.2%, Turkey 6.7% (2015)

Source: Foreign Ministry and Institute of Statistics Albania and others.

Official Sites of Albania

The constitution, adopted in 1998, defines Albania as a parliamentary republic.
The legislative branch is the unicameral parliament (Kuvendi i Shqipërisë), the Cabinet, also known as Council of Ministers is the executive branch. The Chairman of the Council (Prime Minister) is appointed by the President ministers are nominated by the President on the basis of the Prime Minister's recommendation.

Albanian Government - Keshilli i Ministrave
Official website of Republic of Albania, Council of Ministers.

Ministria i Punëve të Jashtme
Ministry of Foreign Affairs website with general information about Albania.

Political Map of Albania
Map showing Albania and the surrounding countries.
Administrative Map of Albania
Map showing the administrative divisions of Albania.
Google Earth Albania
Searchable map/satellite view of Albania.
Google Earth Tirana
Searchable map/satellite view of Albania's capital.

Map of the Mediterranean
Political Map of the Mediterranean.
Map of the Balkan Peninsula
Political Map of the Balkans.
Map of Europe
Political Map of Europe.

Albania in Figures
Albania key statistical data.

News Agencies
Albanian Independent News Agency.

News and newspapers in Albanian
24-ore online.
Albanian daily.
Rilindja Demokratike
Online news.
Albanian daily.

Weekly news magazine online.

News Agency KosovaPress with Kosovo related news and information.

Arts & Culture

Tirana International Film Festival
Official website of the Albanian Film Festival.

National Library of Albania
Biblioteka Kombëtare e Shqipërisë

Business & Economy

Albania, a formerly closed, centrally-planned state, is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. The agricultural sector, which accounts for almost half of employment but only about one-fifth of GDP, is limited primarily to small family operations and subsistence farming, because of a lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land.
A weak judicial system, poor enforcement of contracts and property issues, and antiquated infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment .

Banka e Shqiperise
The Central Bank of the Republic of Albania.

Albanian Center for International Trade - ACIT
Established by the Institute for Contemporary Studies (ISB) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Albanian airline headquartered in Tirana with its hub at Tirana International Airport.
Albawings commenced operations in 2016.

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

Destination Albania - Travel and Tour Guides

Discover Albania, a land of great natural beauty and romantic remoteness.
Places of interest: Korça, Pogradeci, Berat, Durres, Kruja, Gjirokastra, Saranda, Shkodra, Tirana, and Vlora.
More information on accommodation, hotels, attractions, festivals, events, tourist boards, biking, hiking, climbing, diving, tours and much more you will find in the bookmarks below.

National Tourism Organization Albania
Official website of the organization with comprehensive information about Albania.

Albania Holidays
Albania Tour operator website.
Albanian Home Page
Information about Albania and the Albanians.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites Albania

Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint has been the site of a Greek colony, a Roman city and a bishopric. The city was abandoned in the late Middle Ages after marshes formed in the area.

Watch the video: Η ιστορία της Αλβανίας Ιλλυρία από το 2500.