Lulzim Basha

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Lulzim Basha
Lulzim Basha 2012.jpg
Mayor of Tirana
Incumbent
Assumed office
25 July 2011
Preceded by Edi Rama
Leader of the Democratic Party of Albania
Incumbent
Assumed office
23 July 2013
Preceded by Sali Berisha
Minister of the Interior
In office
2009–2011
Prime Minister Sali Berisha
Preceded by Bujar Nishani
Succeeded by Bujar Nishani
63rd Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
2007–2009
Prime Minister Sali Berisha
Preceded by Besnik Mustafaj
Succeeded by Ilir Meta
Minister of Public Works, Transport and Telecommunications
In office
2005–2007
Prime Minister Sali Berisha
Preceded by Spartak Poci
Succeeded by Sokol Olldashi
Personal details
Born (1974-06-12) 12 June 1974 (age 39)
Tirana, Albania
Political party Democratic Party of Albania
Residence Tirana
Alma mater Utrecht University
Signature

Lulzim Basha (About this sound listen ; born 12 June 1974) is a prominent Albanian politician who has been Mayor of Tirana, the capital of Albania, since 2011. He has also been leader of the Democratic Party of Albania, the main opposition party, since 2013.

Prior to being elected Mayor of Tirana, Basha was twice elected as member of Parliament representing Tirana (2005-2009)[1] and Elbasan (2009-2011). During that period he served as Albania's Minister of Public Works, Transport and Telecommunications (2005-2007), Minister of Foreign Affairs (2007-2009),[2] and Minister of the Interior (2009–2011).

Early life and education[edit]

Lulzim Basha was born in Tirana on 12 June 1974. After attending the Sami Frashëri High School, he studied law at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and worked for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (1998–1999).He later worked for the Department of Justice of the UN administration of Kosovo,[a] UNMIK (2000–2005), before entering Albanian politics.[3]

Political career[edit]

Basha with Condoleezza Rice

Basha joined the Democratic Party of Albania in January 2005 and became a member of the party's Presidency in May of that year. He served as the party's spokesman during the 2005 parliamentary elections at which he was elected to the Albanian Parliament as the MP of Constituency #33 in Tirana.

After the 2005 parliamentary elections, Basha became Minister of Public Works, Transport and Telecommunications, where he served for a period of two years, until he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2007.[4]

As Minister of Public Works, Transport and Telecommunications, Basha initiated the major infrastructural work in Albanian history, Durrës-Kukes Highway, involving the construction of a 5.6 km tunnel. In 2007, the Chief Prosecutor of Albania Theodhori Sollaku asked the parliament to lift Basha's immunity from prosecution so he could begin an investigation into possible political corruption and abuse of power charges. This was in regard to the awarding of Durrës-Kukes highway construction contract to Bechtel-ENKA, a U.S.-Turkish joint venture.[5] These charges were filed after the Chief Prosecutor himself had been impeached by the Parliament on charges of collusion with organized crime. Basha said that the charges were politically motivated, although he asked the Parliament to lift his immunity. Consequently the Supreme Court of Albania after a legal process relieved him of all the charges. Former Chief Prosecutor Sollaku was dismissed by the Parliament and is now a leading member of the opposition Socialist Party.

Basha served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from May 2007 until his appointment as Minister of Interior in September 2009. During his term, Albania was admitted to NATO, applied for EU membership and started the dialogue to secure visa free travel for its citizens to the Schengen countries.

After the 2009 election, Basha was nominated as Minister of Interior in the new Berisha government. As Minister of Interior, he implemented all the required criteria for visa-free travel to the Schengen countries, including the modernisation of the Albanian border and immigration police system, the issuing of high security biometric passports and a tougher fight against criminal activity and criminal assets. These steps won international praise,{http://www.ikub.al/LAJME/912020381/Article-Shefi-i-Europol-Me-mbresa-nga-progresi-i-Shqiperise.aspx} notably by EUROPOL and other law enforcement bodies, and led to the decision of the EU on 8 November 2010 to lift all travel visa requirements for Albanian citizens effective 15 December 2010.[6]

In 2011, Basha ran for the post of mayor of Tirana for the Democratic Party and the Coalition of the Citizen, challenging Edi Rama, mayor and leader of the Socialist Party of Albania. Basha ran on a platform of opening up the city hall and involving citizens in decision making by making sure their voices were heard above the political bickering. He also promised a sweeping array of reforms including the drafting of an urban plan and new investments in the ailing city infrastructure. After a long and controversial process of votes counting, Basha was elected the new mayor of Tirana and his election was certified by the CEC. During his years of service an urban plan was drafted and approved after extensive consultations with the community. City taxes were reduced and youth employment programmes were put in place including soft loans for start ups by young entrepreneurs. An array of public works have been undertaken throughout Tirana ranging from new roads, sewage and water systems to green spaces, schools and kindergartens. Under his term the largest project in the history of the capital has been launched, consisting in the construction of a new boulevard and the rehabilitation of the Tirana River. The project designed by Grimshaw Architects of London was selected amongst 7 proposals by an international jury headed by world renowned architect Daniel Liebeskind.

In 2013 Basha was awarded the Freedom of the City of London by an elected vote of the Common Council of the City of London. The award was presented by the Lord Mayor of London.

After the defeat of the Democratic Party in the parliamentary elections on 23 June 2013 and the resignation of PM Sali Berisha as president of DP, Lulzim Basha ran for the presidency of the party and was elected by 80,59 percent of the 42 thousand members of the DP as its new leader.

Personal life[edit]

Lulzim Basha is married to Aurela Basha (née Isufi), a Dutch citizen of Albanian origin.

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Spartak Poci
Minister of Public Works, Transport and Telecommunications of Albania
2005-2007
Succeeded by
Sokol Olldashi
Preceded by
Besnik Mustafaj
Foreign Minister of Albania
2007-2009
Succeeded by
Ilir Meta
Preceded by
Bujar Nishani
Minister of Interior of Albania
2009-2011
Succeeded by
Bujar Nishani
Preceded by
Edi Rama
Mayor of Tirana
2011 – present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Sali Berisha
Leader of Democratic Party of Albania
2013 – present
Succeeded by
Incumbent

External links[edit]