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Albania's last communist leader Ramiz Alia dies

Albania's last communist leader Ramiz Alia dies

Albania's last communist president Ramiz Alia died in the Balkan country's capital Tirana on Friday. He was 85.
Alia died at about 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) of lung complications, said Mimoza Kociu, a spokeswoman for the Albanian president, Bamir Topi.
The former president opened the way for the country to hold its first free elections in 1991, following a series of massive student protests which brought down one of the world's most isolationist Communist political systems.
He was elected president after the first election in 1991, but resigned a year later. The newly created Democratic Party won new elections in 1992.
Alia had taken over the leadership of the communist party following the death of his longtime friend, dictator Enver Hoxha in 1985.
In 1994, Alia was convicted of abuse of power and sentenced to nine years in prison, but freed soon after in an amnesty. He was then rearrested pending investigation of new charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.
When Albania exploded into chaos in 1997 _ after pyramid investment schemes fueled by the savings of most Albanians collapsed _ Alia was among the many prisoners that escaped after guards abandoned their posts.
He is survived by two daughters and a son.

Updated : 2022-05-20 10:08 GMT+08:00