Timeline of Albanian history

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This is a timeline of Albanian history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Albania and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Albania. See also the list of Albanian monarchs and list of heads of state of Albania.

Centuries: 12th · 13th · 14th · 15th · 16th · 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th · 21st

12th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1190 The Principality of Arbër was created.
1200 Local Albanian noble families begin to emerge.
Serbia occupied parts of northern Albania.

13th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1204 Fourth Crusade: Venice won control over most of Albania.
Fourth Crusade: The Byzantines regained control of the southern portion of Albania and established the Despotate of Epirus.
1258 Sicily seized the Albanian coast and much of the Epirus hinterland.
1272 Forces allied to Charles I of Naples occupied Durrës and established the Kingdom of Albania.
1280 Siege of Berat (1280–1281): An Angevin offensive against Constantinople was repulsed by the Byzantines.
1290 Albania began to come under Serbian attack.

14th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1304 The Angevins recaptured the Kingdom of Albania.
1368 Karl Thopia captured Durrës from the Angevins.
1385 Thopia invited the Ottoman Empire to intervene against his rival Balsha II.
1389 Battle of Kosovo: Albanians, as part of a Serbian-led Balkan, were crushed by Ottoman forces.

15th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1405 George Kastrioti, later Skanderbeg, was born.
1430 Gjon Kastrioti led an unsuccessful uprising against the Ottoman Empire.
1433 Gjergj Arianiti rebelled against the Ottoman Empire with some success.
1443 After being sent into battle near Niš, Skanderbeg entered Albania and reembraced Roman Catholicism, marking the beginning of a long war against the Ottoman Empire.
1444 Skanderbeg was proclaimed chief of the League of Lezhë.
1450 The Albanians, led by Skanderbeg, routed Ottoman forces.
1466 The Albanians, led by Skanderbeg, began the defense of Krujë against massive Ottoman armies.
1467 The defense of Krujë ended.
1468 Skanderbeg died.
1478 Fourth Siege of Krujë (1478): Krujë fell to the Ottoman Empire, causing many Albanians to flee to southern Italy, Greece, Egypt, and elsewhere, and others to convert to Islam.
1479 Shkodër fell to the Ottoman Empire.

16th century[edit]

17th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1700 Some Albanians who converted to Islam found careers in the government and military services of the Ottoman Empire.
A mass conversion of Albanians began which would see some two-thirds of them become Muslims.

18th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1785 Kara Mahmud Bushati, an Albanian noble from the Bushati family based in Shkodër, attacked Montenegrin territory and was named governor of Shkodër by Ottoman authorities.
1800 Most Albanian conversion to Islam came to an end.

19th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1822 Albanian leader Ali Pashë Tepelena was assassinated by Ottoman agents for promoting an autonomous state.
1830 Five hundred Albanian leaders, accepting an invitation to meet with an Ottoman general in Monastir, were trapped and killed in an ambush.
1835 The Ottoman Sublime Porte divided Albanian-populated lands into the Ottoman-administered vilayets of Janina and Rumelia.
1848 Albanians rose up against the Tanzimat reforms.
1861 The first school known to use the Albanian language in modern times opened in Shkodër.
1877 Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878): The war began.
1878 Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878): The Ottoman Empire was defeated by its rival Russian Empire, seriously weakening Ottoman power over Albanian-populated areas.
Albanian leaders meeting in Prizren formed the League of Prizren to advocate a unified Albania under Ottoman suzerainty.
1879 The Society for Printing of Albanian Writings, composed of Roman Catholic, Muslim, and Orthodox Albanians, was founded in Constantinople.
1881 Ottoman forces crushed Albanian resistance fighters at Prizren. The leaders of the League of Prizren and their families were arrested and deported.
1897 Ottoman authorities disbanded a reactivated League of Prizren.

20th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1906 Albanians began joining the Committee of Union and Progress in the hope of gaining autonomy for their nation within the Ottoman Empire.
1908 Albanian intellectuals meeting in Bitola chose the Latin alphabet as the standard script for the Albanian language.
1911 April 6 Albanian Highlanders under Ded Gjo Luli defeated Ottoman forces in the town of Tuzi.
1912 May Albanians rose against Ottoman authority and seized Skopje.
October First Balkan War: The war began, encouraging Albanian leaders to affirm the independence of their state.
November Muslim and Christian delegates declared Albania independent at Vlorë and established a provisional government.
December An ambassadorial conference in London gave half of Albanian territory to Serbia and Greece.
1913 May First Balkan War: The Treaty of London ended the war.
May Second Balkan War: The war began.
August Second Balkan War: The Treaty of Bucharest ended the war and recognized an independent Albanian state ruled by a constitutional monarchy.
1914 March William, Prince of Albania was installed as head of the new Principality of Albania by the International Commission of Control.
September World War I: The new Albanian state collapsed.
1918 November World War I: The war ended with Albanian territory divided under Italian, Serbian, Greek and French military occupation.
December Albanian leaders met at Durrës to discuss presentation of Albanian interests at the upcoming Paris Peace Conference.
1919 January Serbia attacked Albania, forcing Albanians to adopt guerrilla warfare.
June Paris Peace Conference, 1919: Albania was divided between Greece, Italy and Yugoslavia at the conference, which did not admit Albanian representation.
1920 January Albanian leaders meeting at Lushnjë rejected the partition of Albania, warned that Albanians would take up arms in defense of their territory, and created a bicameral parliament.
February The Albanian government under Sulejman Delvina moved to the new capital Tirana.
September Albania forced Italy to withdraw its troops and abandon territorial claims to almost all Albanian territory.
December Albania was admitted to the League of Nations as a sovereign and independent state.
1921 November The Yugoslavian army invaded the Albanian territories they had not previously occupied.
November A League of Nations commission forced a Yugoslavian withdrawal and reaffirmed the 1913 borders of Albania.
December The Popular Party headed by Xhafer Bej Ypi formed a government, with the future King Zog of Albania acting as internal affairs minister.
1922 August Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Patriarch Meletius IV of Constantinople recognized the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania.
September Zog became Prime Minister.
1923 The Sunnis of Albania broke the last of their ties with the dissolving Ottoman Empire, pledging primary allegiance to their native country.
1924 March Zog's party won elections to the National Assembly.
March Zog stepped down after a financial scandal and an assassination attempt.
July A peasant-backed insurgency won control of Tirana, installed Fan S. Noli as Prime Minister and forced Zog of Albania to flee to Yugoslavia.
December Zog, backed by the Yugoslavian army, returned to power and forced Noli to flee to Italy.
1925 May Italy began to penetrate Albanian public and economic life.
1926 November 27 Italy and Albania signed the First Treaty of Tirana, guaranteeing Albanian boundaries and the political position of Zog.
1928 August Zog pressured the parliament to dissolve itself and called a constituent assembly which declared him King.
1931 Zog refused to renew the First Treaty of Tirana despite Italian political and economic pressure.
1934 Italy suspended economic support to Albania.
1935 Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini renewed economic aid to Albania.
1939 March 17 The German ambassador assured Mussolini of German support for an Italian invasion of Albania.
March 25 The Italian ambassador demanded that Albania become an Italian protectorate.
April The Albanian army mobilized.
April 5 Leka, Crown Prince of Albania, the heir to the Albanian throne, was born.
Zog appealed to the democracies.
April 6 Zog appealed to the Balkan Pact.
April 7 Italian invasion of Albania: Fifty thousand Italian marines landed in the ports of Durrës, Vlorë, Shëngjin and Sarandë.
Zog fled with his wife, Queen Géraldine Apponyi de Nagyappony, and their infant son Leka, to Greece.
April 8 Italian troops occupied Tirana.
April 12 A constituent assembly summoned in Tirana by pro-Italian notables approved a personal union with Italy.
Shefqet Bej Verlaci became Prime Minister and acting Head of State.
April 14 Albania withdrew from the League of Nations.
April 16 Italian King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy was crowned King of Albania.
April 22 Francesco Jacomoni di San Savino was appointed the viceroy of Albania.
1940 The Albanian constitution was voided.
The Albanian Fascist Party was established.
The Albanian army was merged into the Italian army.
October 28 Greco-Italian War: The war began. The Italian army invaded Greece through Albania.
1941 April Invasion of Yugoslavia: Germany, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and the Croatian Ustaše invaded Yugoslavia.
April Battle of Greece: Germany invaded Greece.
April Axis occupation of Greece during World War II: Greece was partitioned between Germany, Italy and Bulgaria, with Italy occupying the bulk of the Greek mainland and most of the islands.
October Josip Broz Tito, leader of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, began to organize Albanian Communists.
November 8 The Albanian Communist Party was founded under First Secretary Enver Hoxha.
December 3 Mustafa Merlika-Kruja became Prime Minister.
1942 September 16 Conference of Pezë: The National Liberation Movement (Albania) was established.
October Noncommunist nationalist groups appeared to resist Italian occupation.
1943 August Italy signed the Armistice between Italy and Allied armed forces, dissolving much of its armed forces and loosening its hold over Albania.
September German forces invaded and occupied Albania. The Albanian Kingdom became a German puppet state.
1944 January The National Liberation Movement, supplied with British weapons, gained control of southern Albania.
May The Communists met to organize an Albanian government and appointed Hoxha chairman of the executive committee and supreme commander of the National Liberation Movement.
July Communist forces enter central and northern Albania.
October The Communists established a provisional government with Enver Hoxha as Prime Minister.
November The Communists entered the capital in the wake of a German withdrawal.
December The Communist provisional government adopted laws allowing state regulation of commercial enterprises and foreign and domestic trade.
1945 January The Communist provisional government agreed to restore Kosovo to Yugoslavia as an autonomous region.
January The government began to condemn thousands of "war criminals" and "enemies of the people" to death or to prison, and to nationalize industry, transportation, forests, and pastures.
April Yugoslavia recognized the government of Albania.
August Sweeping agricultural reforms began under which about half of arable land was eventually redistributed to peasants from large landowners and most church properties were nationalized.
August The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration began sending supplies to Albania.
November The Soviet Union recognized the Albanian provisional government.
November Britain and the United States made full diplomatic recognition of Albania conditional.
December Elections for the People's Assembly were held in which only candidates from the Democratic Front (Albania) were on ballot.
1946 January The People's Assembly proclaimed the Socialist People's Republic of Albania, signalling the beginning of purges of noncommunists from positions of power.
July A treaty of friendship and cooperation was signed with Yugoslavia, marking the beginning of a flow of Yugoslavian advisers and grain into Albania.
October 26 Corfu Channel Incident: Two British ships were destroyed by mines off the Albanian coast in the Straits of Corfu.
November Albania broke diplomatic relations with the United States.
1947 Corfu Channel Incident: United Nations Security Council Resolution 22 recommended that the International Court of Justice settle the dispute between the UK and Albania regarding the sinking of two British ships in the Straits of Corfu.
April The Economic Planning Commission first drew up an economic plan with production targets for mining, manufacturing and agricultural enterprises.
May Greek Civil War: A United Nations commission concluded that Albania, together with Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, supported Communist guerrillas.
May Yugoslavian leaders launched a verbal offensive against anti-Yugoslavian Albanian Communists, including Hoxha, empowering the pro-Yugoslavian faction.
July Albania refused to participate in the Marshall Plan of the United States.
1948 February Albanian Communist Party leaders began voting to merge the Albanian and Yugoslavian economies and militaries.
March The measure to merge the Albanian and Yugoslavian economies and militaries passed.
June The Cominform expelled Yugoslavia, triggering the souring of Albanian relations with that country.
September Hoxha began purging high-ranking party members accused of Titoism.
September Albania abrogated its treaty of friendship with Yugoslavia.
September The Soviet Union began giving economic aid and sending advisers to Albania.
November The first Party Congress changed the name of the Communist Party to the Party of Labour of Albania.
1949 January The regime issued a Decree on Religious Communities.
February Albania joined the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon), a free trade area separate from the rest of the world.
December Albanian Communists thought to be supporters of Yugoslavian Prime Minister Tito were purged.
1950 Britain and the United States begin inserting unsuccessful anticommunist Albanian guerrilla units into Albania.
July A new constitution was approved by the People's Assembly, under which Hoxha became minister of defense and foreign minister.
1951 February Albania and the Soviet Union signed an agreement on mutual economic assistance.
1954 July Hoxha relinquished the post of Prime Minister to Mehmet Shehu but retained primary power as First Secretary of the Communist Party.
1955 May Albania became a founding member of the Warsaw Pact.
1956 February Communist Party of the Soviet Union chief Nikita Khrushchev delivered the speech "On the Personality Cult and its Consequences" in which he criticized his predecessor Joseph Stalin, and caused a chill in relations with Albania under the pro-Stalin Hoxha.
1959 Large amounts of economic aid from the Soviet Union, Eastern European countries and China began pouring into Albania.
May Khrushchev visited Albania.
1960 June Sino-Soviet split: Albania sided with the People's Republic of China, causing the Soviet Union to dramatically curtail economic support.
November Hoxha railed against Khrushchev and supported China during an international Communist conference in Moscow.
1961 February Hoxha harangued against the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia at Albania's Fourth Party Congress.
December The Soviet Union broke diplomatic relations with Albania, spurring Eastern European Communist countries to severely reduce their Albanian contacts and Albania to improve its relationship with China.
1962 The Albanian regime introduced an austerity program in an attempt to compensate for the withdrawal of Soviet economic support.
Albania became the spokesman for China at the UN.
1964 October Khrushchev was forced to resign, to the delight of Hoxha.
1966 February Hoxha initiated a Cultural and Ideological Revolution.
March The Albanian Communist Party issued an "open letter" establishing an egalitarian wage and job structure for all workers.
1967 The Hoxha regime began to conduct a violent campaign against religious life which would close or convert to other uses over two thousand religious buildings by the end of the year.
1968 August Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia: Albania condemned the invasion and withdrew from the Warsaw Pact.
1976 September Communist Party of China Chairman Mao Zedong died, leading eventually to a cooling of relations with Albania.
December A new constitution superseded the 1950 version and renamed Albania the Socialist People's Republic of Albania.
1977 Top military officials were purged after a "Chinese conspiracy" was uncovered.
1978 July China terminated all economic and military aid to Albania.
1980 Hoxha selected Ramiz Alia as the next party head, bypassing Mehmet Shehu.
1981 December Shehu died, either by his own hand or on the orders of Hoxha.
1982 November Alia became Chairman of the Presidium of the People's Assembly.
1983 Hoxha began his retirement, leaving more administrative power to Alia.
1985 April Hoxha died.
1986 November Alia was featured as the undisputed leader of the country and Party at the Ninth Party Congress.
1987 August World War II: Greece ended the state of war.
November Albania and Greece signed a series of long-term agreements.
1989 September Alia, addressing the Eighth Plenum of the Central Committee, signalled that radical changes to the economic system were necessary.
1990 January Demonstrations against the Ninth Plenum of the Central Committee at Shkodër forced authorities to declare state of emergency.
April Alia declared his willingness to establish diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and the United States.
May Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Secretary-General of the United Nations, visited Albania.
May The regime announced its desire to join the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe with the passage of laws liberalizing the criminal code, reforming the court system, lifting some restrictions on freedom of worship, and guaranteeing the right to travel abroad.
July Young people demonstrated against the regime in Tirana, causing five thousand citizens to seek refuge in foreign embassies.
July Albania and the Soviet Union signed a protocol normalizing relations.
August The government abandoned its monopoly on foreign commerce and began to open Albania to foreign trade.
September Alia addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
October Tirana hosted the Balkan Foreign Ministers' Conference.
October Ismail Kadare, Albania's most prominent writer, defected to France.
December Alia met with university students demonstrating against his dictatorship.
December The Thirteenth Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party authorized a multiparty system.
December The opposition Democratic Party of Albania was established.
December A draft constitution was published.
1991 January The opposition newspaper Rilindja Demokratike began publishing.
January Thousands of Albanians seek refuge in Greece.
March Albania and the United States reestablished diplomatic relations.
March Thousands of Albanians attempt to gain asylum in Italy.
March Multiparty elections were held.
April The elections came to a close. With 99 percent turnout the Communist Party won over 67 percent of vote for seats in the People's Assembly. The Albanian Democratic Party won about 30 percent.
April The People's Assembly reelected Ramiz Alia Alia to a new presidential term.
April A reorganization replaced the Ministry of Internal Affairs with the Ministry of Public Order and placed the Frontier Guards and Directorate of Prison Administration under the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Justice, respectively.
April The People's Assembly passed a Law on Major Constitutional Provisions providing for fundamental human rights and separation of powers, invalidating the 1976 constitution.
April The People's Assembly appointed a commission to draft a new constitution.
June Prime Minister Fatos Nano and his cabinet resigned in the face of trade unions call for general strike.
June A coalition government led by Prime Minister Ylli Bufi took office.
June The Tenth Congress of the Communist Party disbanded the party and established the new Socialist Party of Albania (SPA).
June Albania was accepted as a full member of the OSCE Minsk Group.
June United States Secretary of State James Baker visited Albania.
July The Sigurimi was abolished and replaced by the National Information Service.
August Up to eighteen thousand Albanians crossed the Adriatic Sea to unsuccessfully seek asylum in Italy.
August The People's Assembly passed a law on economic activity that authorized private ownership of property, privatizing of state property, investment by foreigners, and private employment of workers.
October The United States reopened an embassy in Tirana.
October Albania joined the International Monetary Fund.
December The coalition government collapsed amid accusations that the Communist Party was blocking reform. Bufi resigned.
December Alia named Vilson Ahmeti Prime Minister and set elections for March 1992.
1992 February The People's Assembly prevents OMONIA, the party representing Greek Albanians, from fielding candidates in the elections planned for March.
March 22 In the midst of economic freefall and social chaos, a decisive electoral victory is won by the anticommunist opposition led by the Democratic Party. The Democrats win 62% of the votes and achieve an overall majority with 92 of the 140 seats in the parliament. The Socialists, with 26% of the vote, win 38 seats. Turnout is 90%. (to March 29)
April 3 Alia resigns as president and is succeeded on April 9 by Sali Berisha, the first democratic leader of Albania since Bishop Noli. The first non-Communist government, headed by Aleksander Meksi, is elected on April 13. Its stated priority is to establish law and order to transform the paralyzed economy through a reform program emphasizing a free-market economy and privatization.
April 16 Eduard Selami is elected chairman of the Democratic Party.
June Albania signs the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Pact with ten other countries, including six former Soviet republics. The Pact establishes the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
July The Albanian Communist Party is outlawed, and its chairman, Hysni Milloshi, is arrested in Tirana and charged with illegally carrying a gun.
July 26 Four months after its March defeat, the Socialist Party makes impressive gains in the country's first democratic local elections. The Democratic Party wins 43.2% of the vote, compared to 41.3% cast for the Socialists. Continued economic hardships, general apathy, and a split within the Democratic Party contributed to its poor showing. It holds local administrative control in most large cities, while the Socialists control much of the countryside.
September Former President Alia is detained, joining eighteen other former communist officials, including Nexhmije Hoxha, who are charged with corruption and other offenses.
November 3 The split in the Democratic Party grows into a rift when a group of reform-minded Democrats break away and form a new party, the Democratic Alliance.
December Albania is granted membership of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and in the same month applies to join NATO, becoming the first former Warsaw Pact country formally to seek membership in the Western alliance.
1993 January 27 Nexhmije Hoxha is sentenced to nine years' imprisonment, having been found guilty of embezzling state funds.
February Former prime minister Vilson Ahmeti is placed under house arrest, following charges of corruption.
March Manfred Wörner, Secretary General of NATO visits Tirana.
April Albania recognizes the Republic of Macedonia.
April 25 Pope John Paul II makes a historic visit. (The last pope to travel to Albania – in 1464 – died en route.)
May Nexhmije Hoxha's prison sentence is increased by two years.
July Albania expels a Greek Orthodox cleric, who is alleged to have distributed maps showing southern Albania as Greek territory. Greece subsequently deports thousands of illegal Albanian migrant workers.
July 30 The leader of the Socialist Party, former prime minister Nano, is arrested on allegations of abuse of power.
August Alia is arrested on charges of abuse of power.
September Ahmeti is sentenced to two years' imprisonment.
September President Berisha and President Momir Bulatovic of Montenegro meet in Tirana to discuss ways of improving Albanian-Montenegrin relations.
October Greece recalls its ambassador for consultations after a series of border incidents and alleged human rights abuses in Albania.
1994 Albania's postcommunist transformation continues, with more progress in some areas than others. Greek-Albanian relations deteriorate, and Athens blocks European Union loans to Tirana, impeding Albania's much-needed integration into Europe. Gross domestic product grows by 8%, and inflation continues its downward spiral. Unemployment, however, remains the country's Achilles' heel; more than 300,000 workers are unemployed. Some $400 million sent home by Albanian emigrants play a vital role in boosting the domestic economy by increasing the volume of disposable income. For most, economic hardship and widespread poverty are the norm. Albania's foreign debt continues to soar. The political climate is relatively stable, but hostility between ruling and opposition forces continues to surface. The Socialist Party and other political groups accuse President Sali Berisha of becoming increasingly authoritarian. Albania makes considerable progress in foreign affairs, although relations with some of its neighbours continue to be fraught with problems. The impasse in relations between Belgrade and Tirana persists, but ties with Bulgaria, Turkey, the Republic of Macedonia, and Italy further improve. Relations with Greece raise worries about a new Balkan flash point.
April Following a raid on an army training camp in which two Albanian conscripts were killed, Tirana arrests five ethnic Greeks, finds them guilty of espionage and illegal possession of weapons, and sentences them to between six and eight years in prison. Angered by the verdict, (the court was being held behind closed doors, no international observers were allowed) Athens reportedly expels as many as 70,000 of the 300,000 illegal Albanian immigrants living in Greece.
April Fatos Nano is convicted of state funds during his premiership in 1991 and sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment; the ruling is upheld by an appeals court in the following month.
July Ramiz Alia is tried on a number of charges, including forced deportation of political prisoners, summary executions, and the upholding of the 1967 ban on religious activity. The charges are later changed to abuse of power and violation of citizens' rights. Alia pleads "not guilty" and protests that the allegations made against him are unclear; he is convicted, however, and sentenced to 9 years' imprisonment.
October 4 A draft constitution is presented to Berisha. Failing to obtain the requisite two-thirds majority approval for it in the People's Assembly, Berisha calls for a national referendum, the first of its kind. Surprisingly, the November 6 vote goes against Berisha (53.9% of voters reject the draft constitution), perpetuating the deadlock with the Socialists.
November Alia's prison sentence is reduced to 5 years.
1995 Berisha still faces formidable political, economic, and social problems. The leading opposition Socialist Party threatens the Democratic Party's hold on power, while the latter cites notable successes in economic and foreign affairs and predicts victory in the parliamentary elections scheduled for March 1996. Among the 49 new legislative decisions approved by the People's Assembly in 1995 are land and property laws that positively affect the flow of domestic and foreign investments, especially in the field of agriculture. The process of privatization continues, with some 1,400 small-sized enterprises privatized. Albania's $700 million foreign debt is substantially reduced. Gross domestic product grows by an estimated 6%, and inflation drops to about 10%. The agricultural, construction, and private-service sectors register high rates of growth – 15%, 90%, and 25%, respectively. The industrial sector remains the weakest economic link, with continued production losses. Exports also lag. Continued progress is made in foreign affairs, with the exception of an impasse between Tirana and Belgrade. A slight improvement in Greek-Albanian relations is evidenced. U.S.-Albanian military cooperation develops quickly. Joint projects in 1995 include U.S. intelligence-gathering flights to Bosnia and Herzegovina from bases in Albania, exchanges of high-level military delegations, medical and military exercises, and the construction of Albania's only military hospital.
March The chairman of the Democratic Party, Eduard Selami, is dismissed at an extraordinary party congress for opposing Berisha's efforts to organize a further referendum for the draft constitution. Selami is replaced by Tritan Shehu.
May Italy deploys troops along its coast to stem the continued influx of Albanian illegal immigrants.
June Ilir Hoxha, son of Enver Hoxha, is convicted of inciting national hatred for denouncing leaders of the Democratic Party in a newspaper interview.
July Albania is admitted to the Council of Europe.
July 7 The Supreme Court orders the immediate release of Alia, owing to the provisions of a new penal code, which took effect at the beginning of June. Also in July the case against Vilson Ahmeti is abandoned, owing to a lack of evidence.
September A first-ever meeting between U.S. and Albanian heads of state occurs. See also: Albania–United States relations
September 1 As a result of an agreement between Albania and 41 Western banks, the country's debt owed to those institutions drops from $500 million to $100 million.
November 27 Nano's prison sentence is reduced to 4 years. On December 30 Berisha reduces his sentence by a further 8 months.
December 15 14 prominent communist politicians are arrested, including former defense minister Prokop Murra and former president Haxhi Lleshi. (to December 16)
1996 Gross domestic product grows by an estimated 8%, while inflation rises by about 4–5%, mainly owing to the introduction of a value-added tax. Unemployment drops to a total of 170,000, or about 13%. The agricultural and especially the construction and private-service sectors continue to register robust two-digit growth. Remittances from Albanian émigrés in Greece, Italy, Germany, and the U.S. still account for an estimated 20% of GDP. The nation's relationship with Greece is improved when a high-ranking Greek official visits Albania, and a number of important cooperation agreements are signed. The impasse between Tirana and Belgrade continues, although ethnic Albanians from Kosovo are allowed to travel to Albania. Tirana dispatches a 33-man peacekeeping force to the German contingent of IFOR (the NATO-led Implementation Force) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the first time in the country's history that Albanian troops have been stationed abroad.
Albania receives an aid package from the U.S. worth $100 million.
February 2 Alia is rearrested and charged with crimes against humanity.
March 6 The former chief of the Sigurimi is arrested following bomb attacks in Tirana on February 26 and in Durrës on March 6.
26 May The third postcommunist parliamentary elections plunge Albania into its deepest political crisis since the demise of communist rule. Hours before the polls close, all major opposition parties pull out their candidates, accusing the ruling Democratic Party of engineering widespread election irregularities. Riot police violently break up a protest rally. On June 2 a second round is held, again boycotted by most of the opposition. The chairman of the Central Electoral Commission puts turnout at 59% compared to 89% in the first round. Final results give the ruling Democratic Party 122 seats in the 140-seat parliament (87% of the vote). The Socialists refuse to recognize the results and do not take their nine seats.
July 11 Berisha forms a new enlarged (25-member) cabinet. Among the new ministers are Tritan Shehu as foreign minister and deputy premier, Ridvan Bode as finance minister, and Halit Shamata as interior minister. The government includes four female members, the widest female representation in the history of the country.
November 5 The appeals court upholds prison sentences of up to 20 years on nine high-ranking officials of the communist era. They were sentenced on September 28 for putting thousands of dissidents into internal exile. Those charged included party leaders from Tirana, Lushnjë and other towns, as well as secret police and officials of the Interior Ministry.
November 6 Shortly after midnight, in downtown Tirana an explosion takes place in the apartment of Prel Martini, chief judge of the appeals court. The bomb leaves his five-year-old daughter with a broken leg and injures Martini, his seven-year-old son and two women in neighbouring apartments. Prime Minister Aleksandër Meksi says the explosion is a politically motivated terrorist act.
1997 In the 1997 unrest in Albania the general elections of June 1997 brought the Socialists and their allies to power. President Berisha resigned from his post, and Socialists elected Rexhep Meidani as president of Albania. Albanian Socialist Party Chairman Fatos Nano was elected Prime Minister, a post which he held until October 1998, when he resigned as a result of the tense situation created in the country after the assassination of Azem Hajdari, a prominent leader of the Democratic Party. Pandeli Majko was then elected Prime Minister, and he served in this post until November 1999, when he was replaced by Ilir Meta. Albania approved its constitution through a popular referendum which was held in November 1998, but which was boycotted by the opposition. The general local elections of October 2000 marked the loss of control of the Democrats over the local governments and a victory for the Socialists.
January 24 Following the collapse of several "get-rich-quick" pyramid schemes, in which hundreds of thousands of Albanians lost their life savings, enraged investors go on the rampage in the southern town of Lushnjë. Foreign Minister Shehu is attacked by demonstrators there on January 25. On January 26, thousands of people converge on central Tirana and clash with riot police. Government buildings are set ablaze in towns and cities across the country. In February unrest engulfs Vlorë, causing several deaths. (to January 26)
March The UN Security Council approves dispatching a multinational military force to Albania to oversee the distribution of international humanitarian aid and maintain order.
March 1 Prime Minister Aleksandër Meksi resigns.
March 2 A national state of emergency is declared. Rioters take control of the town of Sarandë, seizing weapons from police headquarters and army barracks. With astonishing speed the entire military establishment melts away, the security service dissolves, and the people arm themselves with every type of weapon, including Kalashnikovs and even tanks – an estimated 650,000 weapons are seized. Most of the southern half of the country falls into the hands of ragtag rebels and criminal gangs. More than 10,000 persons flee to Italy, which in turn causes a governmental crisis in Rome. Several high government officials, including Defense Minister Safet Zhulali, flee abroad.
March 3 Despite widespread demands for his resignation, on President Berisha is reelected unopposed by Parliament (113-1 with 4 abstentions).
March 6 Insurgents take control of Tepelenë, and on March 8 they seize Gjirokastër, the last southern government stronghold. (to March 8)
March 11 Bashkim Fino of the opposition Socialist Party is appointed as prime minister. Arjan Starova becomes foreign minister; Shaqir Vukaj, defense minister; Arben Malaj, finance minister; Belul Celo, interior minister. Unrest spreads to northern Albania, and by March 13 engulfs all major population centres, including Tirana. Alia flees jail during the insurrection. Nano is pardoned by Berisha on March 16. Foreign countries begin to evacuate their nationals from the country, which is now in a state of anarchy. More than 360 people have been killed and 3,500 wounded in three months. The tragic events also cause the economy to suffer. Unemployment soars over the 25% mark, inflation rises, and gross domestic product, which registered 8–11% increases in the previous few years, drops by 7%. The currency is devalued from 108 to more than 150 leks to the US dollar. (to March 16)
March 28 More than 80 people die when an Albanian refugee ship collides with an Italian ship in the Adriatic Sea.
April 9 The Socialists end their boycott of parliament and take up their seats.
April 12 The pretender to the throne, Leka I, returns to Albania and calls for a referendum on restoring the monarchy.
April 15 The Italian-led international protection force begins arriving in Albania. Some 7,000 troops from eight European countries participate in "Operation Alba."
16 May Berisha calls new elections for June 29.
June 2 A bomb attack injures 27 people in Tirana.
June 4 A grenade is thrown at Berisha during a campaign rally outside Tirana but it is deactivated.
June 29 The Socialist Party wins parliamentary elections, with 100 seats out of 155. Their coalition allies win 17 seats, and Berisha's Democratic Party 27. Turnout in the first round is about 65%. In a referendum held at the same time, about one-third of voters support the restoration of the monarchy. The Socialists say Albania will be a parliamentary republic, with executive power concentrated in the hands of the prime minister rather than the president. (to July 6)
July 3 Interior Minister Belul Celo resigns.
July 7 Tritan Shehu resigns as Democratic Party chairman.
July 23 President Berisha resigns.
July 24 Parliament elects secretary of the Socialist Party of Albania and former physics professor Rexhep Meidani as President of Albania (110-3 with 2 abstentions). Meidani then accepts the resignation of Prime Minister Fino, and names Socialist Party leader Nano as new Prime minister of Albania.
July 25 A new 20-member multiparty cabinet (excluding the Democratic Party) is presented by Nano, including Paskal Milo as foreign minister, Sabit Brokaj as defense minister, Neritan Ceka as interior minister, and Arben Malaj retaining his post of finance minister.
September 18 The Democrats leave parliament when one of their deputies, Azem Hajdari, is shot and wounded by a Socialist inside the chamber.
October 21 Berisha is elected chairman of the Democratic Party.
December 23 Alia, who escaped from jail in March and left the country, returns from abroad. He, two ex-interior ministers – Hekuran Isai (1982–89, 1990–91) and Simon Stefani (1989–90) – and the ex-chief prosecutor were acquitted on October 20 of killing 58 people who attempted to flee the country illegally between 1990 and 1992. Prosecutors dropped the charges following a supreme court ruling that 32 other senior ex-communists could not be held liable for alleged offenses which had not been a crime at the time.
1998 April Following widespread allegations of government inefficiency and corruption in his administration, Nano reshuffles his cabinet, reducing the number of ministers.
May More than 13,000 refugees flee into Albania after the eruption in February of civil war between the Serbian police and army and the ethnic Albanian separatist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the neighbouring province of Kosovo. The Albanian Foreign Ministry repeatedly charges Yugoslavia with border violations that include shelling and sniping and with conducting massacres of Kosovo's civilian population. It also calls for NATO military intervention to stop the fighting.
June 21 Local by-elections confirm continuing popular support for Nano's coalition, which wins in five municipalities and six smaller communities. The opposition wins in two municipalities and three communities. (to June 28)
August Police arrest former defense minister Safet Zhulali, former interior minister Halit Shamata, former chairman of state control Blerim Cela, and three other former officials of Berisha's government on charges of crimes against humanity in conjunction with their alleged roles in the suppression of unrest in 1997. General Prosecutor Arben Rakipi charges the six with having ordered the use of chemical weapons, airplanes, and helicopters against civilians. Subsequently, Berisha calls on his supporters to bring down the government "with all means," saying that the arrests were politically motivated.
September 12 Azem Hajdari, a senior leader of the Democratic Party, is shot dead by a gunman as he steps out of the party's office in Tirana; on September 13 Democratic Party supporters storm and set fire to the prime minister's office in a protest against the killing. Government forces counterattack and reoccupy the buildings, and on September 15 Berisha surrenders two tanks posted outside his headquarters after the government threatened to use force if his followers did not give up their weapons.
September 18 Albania's parliament lifts the immunity from prosecution of opposition leader Berisha, clearing the way for prosecutors to charge him with attempting a coup.
September 21 Ahmet Krasniqi, leading member of the self-styled ethnic Albanian government in Kosovo, is shot dead in Albania.
September 28 Prime Minister Nano resigns after failing to get the backing of his coalition for a cabinet reshuffle in the wake of the outbreak of political violence two weeks ago. Pandeli Majko is named to succeed him.
October 2 Pandeli Majko, 30, becomes Europe's youngest head of government after being sworn in as Albanian prime minister. Petro Koçi becomes interior minister and Anastas Angjeli finance minister. On October 8 the new government wins a parliamentary confidence vote (104–0; the opposition Democratic Party is boycotting Parliament).
October 21 Albania's parliament votes in favour of a draft constitution and agrees to put it to a referendum. This is held on November 22, and 93.5% of the voters support the new constitution. Turnout is 50.6%. President Meidani signs the constitution into law on November 28, Albania's independence day. The new constitution, which replaces a package of laws introduced after the collapse of communism, provides for the separation of powers, rule of law, and the independence of the judiciary. It also guarantees human rights and the protection of minorities. The opposition Democratic Party, which (ignoring calls by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe) boycotted the referendum and the parliamentary commission which drafted the constitution, says the results were fixed and that it can not recognize the new constitution.
1999 March During the 78 days of NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, about 450,000 of a total 750,000 Kosovar refugees flee into Albania. That figure is equal to almost 15% of Albania's total population. The hostilities turn Albania into a key operational theatre for international relief agencies and NATO forces in Albania, called Kosovo Force (KFOR), which launch a humanitarian relief operation. In addition, within the framework of the NATO air campaign, U.S. forces deploy 24 Apache antitank helicopters and long-range artillery pieces in northern Albania. The northern Albanian border regions of Kukës and Tropojë bear the brunt of the refugee influx and military operations. Supplying the refugees and transporting them to other parts of the country creates immense logistic difficulties for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other relief agencies. The region also sees ongoing border clashes between Yugoslav forces, who continually shell Albanian border villages, and Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) fighters operating in part from support bases inside Albania. The border area remains heavily mined after the fighting subsides. With the end of the fighting, Albania's relations improve with its neighbours – Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece, and the new UN administration in Kosovo, with whom the Albanian Foreign Ministry plans a series of joint regional development projects within the framework of the European Union-funded Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. Early accomplishments include the installation of a powerful microwave-telephone connection between Albania and Kosovo and the signing of infrastructure development projects with Montenegro. (to June)
20 May NATO says it will supply long-term military aid to Albania and Macedonia and draw up plans to help the two Balkan countries meet the alliance's entry requirements.
Spartak Poçi is appointed interior minister, replacing Petro Koçi. Poçi subsequently manages to break up 12 criminal gangs throughout the country, most notably those in Tropojë, where special police units restore order in September. Because of frequent armed robberies, Tropojë earlier had been a "no-go" area for international aid agencies. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe closed its office there on June 16 after gunmen killed two of its local staff.
July 17 At an extraordinary party congress in Tirana, PDS leader Sali Berisha declares that the party ends its boycott of parliament as a gesture of gratitude to the U.S. for its engagement on behalf of the Kosovars. So far the PDS has been strongly under the control of Berisha, but late in the year the reformists in the PDS openly clash with Berisha's supporters over party strategy. The reformers argue that the parliamentary boycott was leading to political isolation of the party.
September 15 Nano accuses Majko of having allowed Kosovar guerrillas to smuggle arms through Albanian territory.
October 25 Prime Minister Majko resigns after losing the leadership of the ruling Socialist Party earlier in the month to Fatos Nano. On October 27 President Meidani asks Ilir Meta to form the next government. He is sworn in October 29.
November 11 The most significant success in administrative reform comes with the passage of a new law on the civil service, designed to stop the practice of political appointments and to increase the independence and integrity of career civil servants. Implementation of the law and the creation of a workable institutional framework occupy much of the following year.
2000 February It is reported that the government has shifted its attention away from the construction of the east-west trunk road "Corridor 8," designed to link the South Balkans to the Adriatic, and is instead focusing on an internal north-south highway.
March A "quick start" package is launched within the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, the 28-nation agreement signed in 1999 to restore peace, stability, and prosperity to the region. Albania receives about €112 million (about $109 million) for the rehabilitation of roads, railroads, harbours, power and water lines, and the airport in Tirana. The Stability Pact earmarks an additional €320 million (about $311 million) for near-term infrastructure projects to be implemented subsequently. The Stability Pact also dominates Albania's foreign-policy agenda. Numerous projects designed to enhance cooperation between Albania and other southeastern European countries in the fields of human rights, democracy, and security are launched.
14 May Opposition leader Sali Berisha leads 4,000 protestors in the southern port of Vlorë in the first anti-government rally led by the controversial former president.
24 May President Meidani travels to Kosovo, the first visit ever by an Albanian head of state to that heavily ethnic Albanian-populated province in Yugoslavia. Meidani emphasizes Albania's commitment to the creation of "a Europe of the regions" (that is, rather than a continent based on traditional nation-states) and speaks against the desirability of creating a "Greater Albania" that would include ethnic Albanians in neighbouring countries, while stressing the need for closer regional and European integration.
June 14 Berisha is barred from entering the Albanian-dominated Yugoslav province of Kosovo by the UN peacekeeping force, which deems him a threat to public order.
July 7 In a cabinet reshuffle, Ilir Gjoni replaces Luan Hajdaraga as defense minister.
September 18 EU foreign ministers include Albania in a list of Balkan countries offered duty-free access for 95% of their exports. The list does not include neighbouring Serbia and comes as part of a package of measures designed to encourage voters there to embrace reform and oust their federal president, Slobodan Milosevic.
October Following the election of Vojislav Koštunica as president of Yugoslavia, Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo makes the resumption of regular bilateral relations dependent on Serbia freeing Kosovo Albanian prisoners and recognizing its responsibility for crimes against humanity in the Kosovo war.
October 1 The ruling Socialist Party of Albania emerges as the clear winner of municipal elections, taking 50 municipalities and 218 communities – including the mayoralty of Tirana for the first time since 1992 – although the Democratic Party throughout the year focused attention on rallying support for its candidates, accusing the governing Alliance for the State coalition of corruption and smuggling, charges that the coalition dismissed. The Democrats win only in 11 municipalities and 80 communities after calling for a partial boycott of the vote in the runoff. Two municipalities and 17 communities go to smaller parties and independent candidates. (to October 15)

21st century[edit]

Year Date Event
2001 Growth in gross domestic product is 7.3%, just slightly less than the 7.8% registered in 2000. Unemployment drops from 17.1% in 1999 to 13.3% in 2001, thanks to a government-supported job creation program that includes infrastructure-development projects within the framework of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.
Although Albania has made strides toward democratic reform and maintaining the rule of law, serious deficiencies in the electoral code remain to be addressed, as demonstrated in the June 2001 parliamentary elections. International observers judged the 2001 elections to be acceptable, but the Union for Victory Coalition, the second-largest vote recipient, disputed the results and boycotted parliament until January 31, 2002. The Socialists re-elected Ilir Meta as Prime Minister in August 2001, a post which he held till February 2002, when he resigned due to party infighting. Pandeli Majko was re-elected Prime Minister in February 2002.
March The large ethnic Albanian minority in neighbouring Macedonia stages an armed rebellion. Although Albania's prime minister Ilir Meta supports international peace negotiations (which lead to a truce and a peace settlement in late August), there is evidence to suggest that Albanian border guards have at first failed to seal the border completely to arms smugglers supplying the rebels in Macedonia.
April The government is strongly criticized for its unsuccessful policy toward human trafficking. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) joins Save the Children in highlighting the trade in eastern European women and even Albanian children, and accuses local Albanian police of colluding in the lucrative industry. IOM points out that there have been fewer prosecutions of smugglers than of victims of the trade.
April 18 The government announces that legislative elections will take place on June 24.
June 24 In the first round of the parliamentary elections (turnout 54.9%), the ruling Socialist Party, with a reform-oriented program, wins 31 seats; the opposition Union for Victory coalition, formed by the Democratic Party, receives 16 seats. In the second round on July 8, the Socialist Party wins another 44 and the Union for Victory 30. The opposition had been split since 2000, when the New Democrat Party was formed, whose leader, Genc Pollo, charged Berisha with failing to offer convincing answers to the country's essential problems. Pollo's leadership appealed to many voters who were looking for a group among the opposition that could demonstrate some political competence. The new party wins six seats in the new parliament.
July 30 The opposition Democratic Party (PDS) announces that it will not accept the results of the "farcical" legislative election and that it will consequently stay away from the People's Assembly. According to final results announced on August 21 the ruling Socialist Party won a clear majority of 73 seats in the 140-seat Assembly, while the Union for Victory won only 46. Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe disagree with the PDS and describe the poll as free and fair.
September 3 The Democratic Party boycotts the opening session of the People's Assembly in defiance of the government's recent electoral victory.
September 12 Parliament gives Prime Minister Ilir Meta's new government a vote of confidence. Within the governing coalition the Socialist Party controls all key ministries. Arta Dade becomes foreign minister (the first woman in Albanian history to hold that post), Ilir Gjoni interior minister, and Pandeli Majko defense minister; Anastas Angjeli remains finance minister. The chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Skënder Gjinushi, takes charge of labour and social affairs, while another Social Democrat, former foreign minister Paskal Milo, becomes minister of Euro-Atlantic integration. Former justice minister Arben Imami becomes minister of local government and decentralization, pledging to focus on strengthening the role of cities and towns; Niko Kacalidha (of the Union Party, which represents many ethnic Greeks) is appointed to the new post of state minister for minorities and the diaspora. For his part, Prime Minister Meta pledges to upgrade power supplies, proceed with privatization, fight corruption and organized crime, improve ties with Western Europe and neighbours in the Balkan region, and promote free trade.
December Five cabinet members resign after a concerted campaign by Fatos Nano, the leader of the ruling Socialist Party, to bring about a reshuffle. Nano has accused the government of high-level corruption.
2002 Albania is working to conclude free-trade agreements with Macedonia, Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and Croatia. The economy suffers a slight setback. Unemployment creeps up during the year. A United Nations Development Project report estimates that one-third of the population lives in poverty, earning less than $1 per capita per day. Large segments of the population live from subsistence agriculture and do not receive unemployment benefits.
January 29 Prime Minister of Albania Ilir Meta resigns in anger over a continuing row with the leader of his Socialist Party, Fatos Nano, who has been resisting the appointment of ministers to vacant cabinet positions. Earlier that day the opposition Democratic Party ended its four-month boycott of the People's Assembly.
February 7 Defense Minister Pandeli Majko receives the backing of the various warring factions within the ruling Socialist Party to be the country's next prime minister. Nominated by outgoing premier Meta, Majko agrees to accommodate supporters of party leader Nano in a new cabinet. The previous deadlock led the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to freeze aid payments until the situation was resolved. On February 16 President Meidani accepts Majko's proposed cabinet, including Kastriot Islami as finance minister, Luan Rama as defense minister, and Stefan Çipa as interior minister; Arta Dade is to remain as foreign minister. The cabinet is approved by Parliament on February 22.
June 24 Parliament elects Alfred Moisiu as president (97–19). He is sworn in July 24. On July 25 Prime Minister Majko resigns. On July 31 Parliament approves (81–48) a new government with Socialist Party Chairman Fatos Nano as prime minister, Majko as defense minister, Ilir Meta as foreign minister, and Luan Rama as interior minister; Kastriot Islami remains finance minister. Nano's appointment marks the end of a power struggle between the party leader and his two younger challengers Meta and Majko, both of whom had served as prime minister since Nano resigned the post during a period of civil unrest in 1998. Media analysis suggests that Nano elbowed Meta and Majko aside in a grab for power after realizing that he was too controversial a figure to aspire to the presidency. The European Parliament had urged Albanian legislators to elect a president who would be acceptable to both the governing coalition and the opposition. Moreover, Meta and the outgoing president, Meidani, both openly opposed Nano's candidacy for the presidency. The election of Moisiu essentially sealed the Socialist legislators' compromise with the opposition led by the Democratic Party. Nano and Berisha say that the deal signals that the two rival party leaders have put years of fighting behind them. Moisiu, a 73-year-old retired general, served as president of the Albanian North Atlantic Treaty Association and is considered friendly by the opposition.
August 29 The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's chief of mission, Geert-Hinrich Ahrens, praises Albania in his end-of-mission address to the OSCE Permanent Council, reporting that the country is "in the forefront of reform in the region" and adding that recent achievements have "brought Albania to the threshold of opening negotiations for a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union." Finnish diplomat Osmo Lipponen succeeds Ahrens on September 1.
2003 February 12 Albania opens negotiations with the European Commission on a Stabilization and Association Agreement, the first step towards membership of the European Union. (to February 13)
2 May U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell signs a partnership agreement with Albania, Macedonia, and Croatia intended to help them achieve NATO membership.
July 18 Angered by Nano's comments during a cabinet meeting, Foreign Minister Meta resigns in protest at Nano's "nihilistic, tendentious, and denigrating" criticism. On July 22 Marko Bello is nominated to be foreign minister, but he is rejected by parliament on July 28. On July 29 Luan Hajdaraga is named acting foreign minister.
October 12 The Socialist Party wins a narrow victory over the Democratic Party in local elections. Turnout is around 50%.
October 17 Interior Minister Luan Rama is sacked. He has been accused of punching the editor-in-chief of Vizion Plus television, Ilir Babaramo, in a Tirana restaurant on October 14 because of criticism broadcast by the TV station two months ago. On October 23 Prime Minister Nano's nominees for foreign minister, Namik Dokle, and for interior minister, Fatmir Xhafa, are rejected by parliament. On October 25 Nano picks Igli Toska to be acting interior minister.
October 19 In Tiran, more than 2,000 people hold a "people's marathon" to celebrate the beatification of Mother Teresa, who was born to Albanian parents in what is now the Republic of Macedonia.
December 29 Parliament finally approves new ministers for the vacant posts. Kastriot Islami becomes foreign minister, Arben Malaj succeeds him as finance minister, and Igli Toska becomes interior minister.
2004 January A national day of mourning is called after 20 people dies in a shipwreckage during an illegal attempt to cross the Adriatic sea and reach Italy.
February 7 Some 2,000 protesters gather at Prime Minister Nano's office. Stones are thrown and an attempt to storm the building is repelled by guards. Earlier in the day over 4,000 demonstrators rallied in Tirana's central square and, led by Democratic Party leader Berisha, called for Nano to quit.
2005 July 3 Parliamentary elections end with a victory for the opposition Democratic Party (PD) and its allies, prominently the Republican Party (PR). Former president Sali Berisha became prime minister as a result of the election.[1]
September After two months of political wrangling, former president Sali Berisha emerges as the victor in July's general election
2006 April Speedboats are banned in coastal waters, in order to fight people and drug smuggling
June A Stabilisation and Association Agreement is signed between Albania and the European Union
2007 Despite the political situation, the economy of Albania grew at an estimated 5% in 2007. The Albanian lek has strengthened from 143 lekë to the US dollar in 2000 to 92 lekë in 2007, mainly due to the depreciation of the US dollar, but also thanks to the overall improvement of the Albanian economy.
June 10 US President George W. Bush visited Albania, the first sitting US President to do so. While Mr Bush was glad-handing cheering crowds, it appears as if his wristwatch is stolen. TV footage of the President being mobbed, taken by the Albanian TV station News24, was broadcast on Italian TV news bulletins and watched by thousands on YouTube.[2][3] It was later reported that Bush had given the watch to a guard.
July Bamir Topi, ruling party chairmanpresident, is elected by the Parliament as President of Albania, after three failed round highlighted the risk of snap elections.
2008 March 15 An explosion in a badly-maintained arms depot causes 16 deaths and over 300 injured, damaging Tirana airport. Defense minister Fatmir Mediu resigns.
June 12 Opposition Socialist Party leaves the Parliament, accusing the ruling Democratic Party of postponing voting on five new members of the Supreme Court awaiting appointment by President Bamir Topi.[4]
2009 April Albania joins NATO and submit application for membership in the European Union
July Sali Berisha's centre-right Democratic Party wins 2009 parliamentary elections by a narrow margin. Prior to the election, the electoral law was changed to a regional proportionally system.Berisha's alliance won enough seats to form a government, though it fell one seat short of a majority during the elections of Jun 28, 2009, having to join forces with a splinter socialist party, the Socialist Movement for Integration of Ilir Meta, whom Berisha appointed to the post of Deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs, and later Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy. It is the first time since the start of multi-party democracy in 1991 that a ruling party has been forced into a coalition through not winning enough seats on its own.[5]
November Protests begin in Tirana, led by opposition Socialist Party leader Edi Rama, against allegedly rigged vote counting in the 2009 elections. Berisha has refused any recount of the votes, on the ground that the Albanian Constitution do not foresee such procedure. The political crisis between government and opposition has worsened over time, with the Socialists abandoning parliamentary debates for months and staging hungerstrikes to ask for internal and international support.
2010 May The Socialist Party starts a civil disobedience campaign against the government, asking for a new count of votes, and including hunger strike of opposition leaders[6]
September Economy minister Dritan Prifti resigns after being involved in a corruption scandal.
October 28 The opposition Socialist Party again walks out of the Parliament[7]
November The European Union rejects Albania's request for EU candidate status, but visa are liberalized. The ongoing political crisis was one of the reason of the refusal of granting Albania official candiday status[8]
2011 January 7 The Central Election Commission begins burning the ballots of the 2009 parliamentary elections, in a routine process leading to the 8 May local elections, making a second count (repeatedly requested by opposition) impossible. The Socialist Party has accused the CEC and the Berisha government to attempt hiding vote manipulation.[9]
January 14 Economy and Trade Minister Ilir Meta resigns after being involved in a corruption scandal.[10]
January 21 Clashes break out between police and protesters in an anti-government rally in front of the Government building in Tirana. Three people are shot dead.[11] The EU issues a statement to Albanian politicians, warning both sides to refrain from violence.[12]
8 May Local elections see the victory of the Socialist Party of Albania (PS) in the main cities outside Tirana, Lezha and Scutari;[13] The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe released a mixed evaluation of the electoral process, which was considered "competitive and transparent, but took place in an environment of high polarization and mistrust".[14] In Tirana, the match was between Edi Rama, incumbent mayor and PS leader, and Lulzim Basha, DP minister of the interior. After a long process of votes counting, Rama was first declared winner for a tight margin of 10 votes. Then, the DP-led Central Electoral Commission decided to add to the count some of the votes misplaced in the wrong boxes, a move on doubtful legal grounds that was contested by the opposition[15] as well as by the OSCE. Basha was finally declared winner for 83 votes.[16][17] The EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso consequently cancelled his visit to Tirana;[18] the Nobel-prize Ismail Kadaré pledged him to withdraw his candidacy to avoid the "collapse" and "isolation" of Albania.[19]
2012 September 21 September 2012 Hunger strike of former politically persecuted in Albania (2012)

References[edit]

Data as of 1993.  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.

  1. ^ "Albania's new PM takes charge". The Independent. 2005-09-02. p. 22. 
  2. ^ Gardner, David; Pisa, Nick (June 13, 2007). "Theft mystery over George Bush's vanishing timepiece". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  3. ^ Owen, Richard (June 12, 2007). "Mystery of President Bush's watch in Albania". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  4. ^ Albania's main opposition leaves parliament over Supreme Court row, SETimes.com, 13.06.2008
  5. ^ "Albania PM re-election confirmed". BBC News. July 27, 2009. Retrieved May 23, 2010. 
  6. ^ Deutsche Welle, May 5, 2010
  7. ^ Albanian opposition leaves parliament again, SETimes.com, 29/10/2010
  8. ^ EU Observer, November 10, 2010
  9. ^ SETimes.com, January 10, 2011
  10. ^ SETimes.com, January 16, 2011
  11. ^ SETimes.com, January 21, 2011
  12. ^ EU Observer, January 24, 2011
  13. ^ Balkan Insight, May 11, 2011
  14. ^ OSCE Releases Mixed Scorecard on Albania Poll – Balkan Insight, May 10, 2011
  15. ^ Balkan Insight, [1], [2]
  16. ^ Balkan Insight, May 23, 2011
  17. ^ International Crisis Group, The Dangers of Albania's Disputed Election, May 20, 2011
  18. ^ (Italian)Albania News, May 20, 2011
  19. ^ Top Channel TV, May 21, 2011