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|Date of Birth:||October 15, 1944|
|Place of Birth:||Tropojė, Albania|
|Political Party:||Democratic Party|
Sali Berisha was born on October 15, 1944 in Tropojė, Albania. Berisha was the president of Albania between 1992 and 1997. He graduated from the University of Tirana, Faculty of Medicine (1967). After he accomplished successfully his advanced studies in Paris (France), he conducted a research program on Hemodynamics. In 1968 he was elected member of the European Committee for Research on Medical Sciences. During the teaching years in the University of Tirana (1980 1990), Berisha published study books, university textbooks and several scientific articles on cardiology, inside and outside of Albania. Berisha holds the scientific title Professor Doctor. He has worked as a heart surgeon and as a professor at the Clinic of Cardiology in Tirana.
The political career of Mr. Berisha started with the students' movement of December 1990. He became well known with his public criticisms against the old system and the need for the democratization of the country. In 1991, Mr. Berisha was elected chair of the Democratic Party, to be re-elected in 1997 and later on. He has been elected member of the parliament in the Albanian Assembly in 1991, 1992, 1997, 2001.
Following the first free elections of Albania, Berisha was elected President of the Republic on April 9, 1992. His administration tried to foster foreign investment, improve the poor economic situation of the country, and develop a more liberal and democratic government. Despite many reforms that took place, the administration was marred by widespread corruption and abuses.
In 1994 a referendum took place that would have given Berisha even more powers, but it was rejected by Albanian voters amid fears that he would become another dictator.
Soon afdterwards, the economic crisis was spurred on by the proliferation and collapse of several pyramid financial schemes. Many Albanians lost their entire lives' savings. The administration was accused of having taken part in these schemes despite promises to give people back their money. Military depos around the country were looted and for a time it looked like civil war would erupt. Initially, Berisha refused opposition demands to step down. However, early elections were held in June 1997 and they led to the victory of a socialist-led coalition of parties. He resigned from the president's tenure one month after the loss of the elections of the DP and the victory of the left coalition. Since then he has been chair of the DP, the biggest opposition party.