Edi Rama is the current Prime Minister of Albania. He was a well-known artist before he ventured into politics. During his early years, Edi Rama showed promise as a basketball player but instead studied fine arts before becoming a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts. Later on Edi Rama established a successful art career in France, before going back to his native Albania as the Minister of Culture on the invitation of Fatos Nano. However, it was his stint as the Mayor of his home town of Tirana that really catapulted into the national limelight and one of the reasons for that was not only the fact that he remained at the post for eleven years but because he brought genuine change to the city during his long tenure. In 2005, he became the head of the Socialist Party and after a rocky time during which the party lost the general elections; Edi Rama led them to form the government in 2013 albeit with coalition partners.
Childhood & Early Life
Edi Rama was born on July 4, 1964 in Tirana, the capital of Albania, to Kristaq Rama and his wife Aneta Rama. His father was a well-known sculptor and his mother was a graduate in medicine.
Edi Rama was interested in sports in his teenage years and in fact he played for the well-known Albanian basketball team Dinamo for some time. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and played an active part as one of the most important members of the student protests against the ruling communist regime in Albania.
After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts, Edi Rama worked as a professor at the same academy and in 1994, at the age of 30 he relocated to France and became an active member of the thriving art scene in the country. Rama’s work was also exhibited in galleries during his stay in France and he became a respected artist.
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In 1998, the then Prime Minister of Albania, Fatos Nano, invited Edi Rama to take over as the Minister of Culture of Albania and Edi readily agreed and returned to Albania. During his tenure as the Minister of Culture that lasted two years, Rama came into the spotlight for his flamboyant ways.
In 2000, Edi Rama decided to run for the mayoral election for the city of Tirana as a Socialist Party candidate and became the mayor the same year after defeating Besnik Mustafaj, a well-known writer. One of his earliest works as the mayor was that of demolishing illegally constructed buildings and restoring some parts of the city to its earlier forms.
In 2003, Edi Rama was charged of abuse of funds in the Municipality of Tirana and after an inquiry by Albanian Parliament he was acquitted of all the charges. Later on in the same year he won a for his second term as mayor. In 2005, he was named as the Socialist Party leader but not before he had won another mayoral election for Tirana. Around the same time, Rama also formulated the Tirana City Master Plan.
Under his leadership, the Socialist Party lost the 2009 general elections in Albania. His style of leadership was heavily criticised by some of the leaders for being dictatorial.
In 2013, Parliamentary elections, Edi Rama led a coalition of socialist and left-wing parties that defeated the conservative bloc of the then Prime Minister Sali Berisha. He was elected as new Prime Minister by the Albanian Parliament on September 12, 2013.
During his tenure as the mayor of Tirana, he transformed the Tirana Municipality into a modern European institution. He restored the public spaces, increased the green areas, introduce colour in public spaces, amongst the ruined facades of residential buildings of the communist era and reconstructed the road network of the city.
Awards & Achievements
United Nations awarded Edi Rama with an award on the event of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty in the year 2002.
The celebrated TIME Magazine named Edi Rama among the 2005 European Heroes.
Personal Life & Legacy
Edi Rama had married Matilda Makoci, an actress and they had a son named Gregor. He separated from Makoci in 1991
Edi Rama got married to Lindita Basha in 2010. She is an activist.