||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2007)|
|Leader of the Opposition|
|Mayor of Tirana|
October 2000 – July 2011
|Preceded by||Albert Brojka|
|Succeeded by||Lulzim Basha|
|Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports|
|Prime Minister||Fatos Nano|
4 July 1964 |
|Political party||Socialist Party of Albania|
|Spouse(s)||Matilda Makoci (div.)
Edi Kristaq Rama (born Edvin Rama, on 4 July 1964) is an Albanian politician who has been leader of the Socialist Party of Albania, the largest opposition party in Albania, since 2005. He was Minister of Culture, Youth, and Sports from 1998 to 2000 and Mayor of Tirana from 2000 to 2011.
Personal history 
Edi Rama was born to Kristaq Rama, a native of Durrës and Albanian sculptor, and Aneta Rama, a graduate in medicine and niece of Spiro Koleka, a former member of the Albanian Politburo. As a teenager Rama got involved in sports by becoming a player of Dinamo, a leading basketball team, and the Albanian national team. Following the collapse of Communism in Albania, he became involved with the first democratic movements. He entered the student movement but soon left after a quarrel over ideological matters with Sali Berisha. At the same time, he published a book with various notes together with publicist Ardian Klosi entitled Refleksione, while a professor at the Academy of Arts of Albania. During this time, he became engaged and later married actress Matilda Makoci, with whom he had a son, Gregor Rama. He separated from Makoci and in 1994 decided to emigrate abroad. Upon arriving in France, he conducted the life of an artist by taking part in many exhibitions with his close friend, Anri Sala. In January 1997, during one of his trips back to Albania he suffered severe injuries after being physically assaulted.
In 1998, Edi Rama was asked by Prime Minister Fatos Nano to become Minister of Culture. He accepted and immediately became known for his extravagance in a variety of ways. In October 2000, he entered and won the race for the Tirana mayorship as Socialist Party candidate against writer Besnik Mustafaj. After taking office, he undertook a radical campaign to return many portions of Tirana's center and Lana River into their original forms by demolishing hundreds of illegal buildings.
In 2003, he appeared before the Albanian parliament in an inquiry commission on abuse of funds in the Municipality of Tirana. During the session, he was seen using a loudspeaker in sign of protest. The commission was eventually closed and Rama acquitted. In 2003, he won a second term by defeating lawyer Spartak Ngjela, and a third consecutive term by beating DP candidate Sokol Olldashi. During the latter campaign, his rivals published some photos of Rama in intimate poses on a nudist beach in southern France.
In October 2005, Rama became the leader of the Socialist Party following the resignation of Fatos Nano. As mayor he compiled the Tirana City Master Plan including the Skanderbeg Square project. In 2010, Rama married Lindita Basha (also known as Lindita Xhillari), a civil society activist. In the 2011 local elections he lost by a small margin to a young candidate of the Coalition of the Citizen, Lulzim Basha. The elections were criticized by the monitors and the international community as they were decided in a debatable court ruling. The first ballot count gave Rama the victory by a margin of 10 votes, but afterwards the Central Electoral Committee decided to open the ballot boxes and count the ballots cast in the wrong boxes. In November 2011, Rama published a reflection book on his years as Mayor of Tirana entitled Kurban.
Life as a painter 
Rama is also author of several personal painting exhibitions in Europe, North and South America, and other. Personal exhibitions include Janos Gallery, New York (1993), Place de Mediatheque, France (1995), Palais Jalta, Frankfurt (1997), Acud, Berlin (1993), São Paulo, Brazil (1994), Israel (1995), National Gallery, Albania (1992) and Gallery XXI, Albania (1999). He is no longer active as an artist.
In 2009, Rama published a collection of personal notes and paintings in a book entitled Edi Rama.
Impact on Tirana 
Rama's most noted impact on the city of Tirana has been the many kiosk demolitions in the city during his mayorship. Rama's Return to Identity project rid the city of many illegally constructed buildings on municipal lands such as local parks and the banks of the Lana. During this period as mayor he was heavily supported by the Prime Minister of Albania at the time, Ilir Meta, who channeled numerous funds from the central government to the local authority of Tirana, enabling Rama to implement the cleaning master project.
In an attempt to widen roads, he authorized the bulldozing of private properties so that they could be paved over, thus widening streets. He has been accused of corruption and mismanagement of funds by the opposition, including corruption in the issuance of building permits.
His Clean and Green project in 2000 resulted in the production of 96,700 square metres of green land and parks in the city and the planting of nearly 1,800 trees. He also ordered the painting of many old buildings in what has come to be known as Edi Rama colours (very bright yellow, green, violet). Rama's critics claimed that he focused too much attention on cosmetic changes without fixing any of the major problems such as shortages of drinking water and electricity. As of the end of Rama's 11-year mayoral term, running water in Tirana continued to be available for only 6 hours a day.
Rama, a former artist, had this to say about his work as mayor: "It's the most exciting job in the world, because I get to invent and to fight for good causes everyday. Being the mayor of Tirana is the highest form of conceptual art. It's art in a pure state."
In 2003, Rama was chosen to be a visiting professor in the 2002/03 Robert C. Wood Visiting Professorship of Public and Urban Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston and Harvard University.
In December 2004, Rama was named the World Mayor 2004, in an international competition that took place over one year, based on direct voting by Internet, organized by the non-commercial organization CITYMAYORS, located in London.
Political life in Socialist Party 
Edi Rama is also the head of the left wing in Albania. He became head of SPA in October 2005. In the 2009 elections, SPA was the most voted party, but got only 65 seats on the parliament out of 140 because of the electoral system. SMI and DPA formed a coalition and a government, while SPA started a few protests for "the transparency of vote". Nowadays, the SPA members of the parliament have joined the Parliament sessions and co-work with their right-wing colleagues.
Rama is being criticized by a group of SPA politicians like Ben Blushi, Kastriot Islami and Andis Harasani of leading the party without collaborators. These accusations may be because SPA is the only left party to not have a Secretary General. However, the second-most-powerful person in SPA is 59 year old Gramoz Ruçi, the head of the Parliamentarian group.
On 21 January 2011, Rama took part in the 2011 Albanian opposition demonstrations, in which four people were killed and 150 injured. Recently, Rama has started to use social media tools such as Twitter or Facebook to communicate with the electorate and others in general.
In May 2012 he held a TED talk at TEDx Thessaloniki.
- Rama, Edi. Kurban. Dudaj: Tiranë, 2011
- Rama, Edi. Edi Rama. 2009
- Rama, Edi and Ardian Klosi. Refleksione. 1991
See also 
- You’ve got to tear this old building down: Tirana’s mayor: an artistic politician. International Special Reports
- City Mayors
- Personal website
- Archived webpage of the Municipality of Tirana
- List of Rama's publications
- Edi Rama on the song Tirona
- Edi Rama news (in Albanian)
News articles 
- Post 1990s Biography of Edi Rama (Pt 1), Zone e Ndaluar TV Show (Albanian)
- Post 1990s Biography of Edi Rama (Pt 2), Zone e Ndaluar TV Show (Albanian)
- Edi Rama wins the 2004 World Mayor Award
- CityMayors article
- Edi Rama: European Heroes 2005 by Time Magazine
- Regeneration man
- The mayor transforming Tirana
- You’ve got to tear this old building down
Further reading 
- Budini, Belina. Edi Rama, Politikani Pop(ulist)-Star, Tirana: UET Press, 2009. ISBN 978-99956-39-11-2
||Minister of Culture, Youth, and Sports of Albania
|Mayor of Tirana
|Party political offices|
|Chairman of the Socialist Party of Albania