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Rule of Law Albania

The Albanian Liberal Artist Who Became an Illiberal Prime Minister Seeks Third Term

  By Albi Çela The newly elected Prime Minister sat on a bus filled with family, friends, and supporters, smiling, cheering, and   singing  “Sala fell from the fig tree” to his sworn political enemy and just-defeated opponent, Sali Berisha. The controversial old-guard politician with an autocratic bent had been on the scene for over two decades. The modern, charismatic, and liberal artist was about to step in. Edi Rama, the six-foot-six former national basketball player, art professor, Minister of Culture, Mayor of Tirana, and leader of the Socialist Party, took office after eight years in opposition. Entrusted with the votes of almost one-million Albanians, he was viewed as the one who could break boundaries and lead the country with a new mentality. Or so people preferred to believe… “As a young artist he challenged taboos. As a professor of the Academy of Arts he pushed against dogma… When I first met Rama in 1993, he was walking down the boulevard in shorts and a T-shirt with stick

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