Edi Rama

Edi Rama
32nd Prime Minister of Albania
Assumed office
15 September 2013
President Bujar Nishani
Deputy Niko Peleshi
Preceded by Sali Berisha
Chairman of the Socialist Party
Assumed office
10 October 2005
Preceded by Fatos Nano
Mayor of Tirana
In office
11 October 2000  25 July 2011
Preceded by Albert Brojka
Succeeded by Lulzim Basha
Personal details
Born (1964-07-04) 4 July 1964
Tirana, Albania
Political party Socialist Party
Spouse(s) Matilda Makoçi (Divorced)
Linda Rama (2010–present)
Children Gregor Rama
Zaho Rama
Alma mater University of Arts of Albania
Religion baptised Catholic,[1] agnostic[2]
Website Official website

Edi Rama (born 4 July 1964) is an Albanian politician, artist, writer, and the current Prime Minister of Albania since 2013. He has also been leader of the Socialist Party of Albania since 2005. Rama served in the government as Minister of Culture, Youth, and Sports from 1998 to 2000, and he was Mayor of Tirana from 2000 to 2011. He led a coalition of socialist and left-wing parties that won the June 2013 parliamentary election, defeating the conservative bloc of Prime Minister Sali Berisha.

Personal life

Rama was born in Tirana to Kristaq Rama, a sculptor and native of Durrës, and Aneta Rama (née Koleka), a graduate in medicine from Vuno.[3]

He is a relative of late communist politician Spiro Koleka through his mother.[4] Rama himself was baptized Catholic,[5] not Orthodox, but he has stated that “I do not practice any faith other than to the self and other people, but I don’t believe that the existence or non-existence of God is a matter that can ever be resolved by mortals.”[2]

As a teenager, Rama became involved in sports[6] by becoming a player of Dinamo, a leading basketball team, and also played for the Albania national basketball team.[7][8]

Following the collapse of communism in Albania, he became involved with the first democratic movements. He entered the student movement but soon left after a quarrel over ideological matters. Meanwhile, while a professor at the Academy of Arts of Albania, Rama published a book with various notes together with publicist Ardian Klosi entitled Refleksione.

He also became engaged – and later married – to actress Matilda Makoçi, with whom he had a son, Gregor Rama. He separated from Makoçi and in 1994 emigrated abroad.

Upon arriving in France, he conducted the life of an artist by taking part in many exhibitions with his close friend Anri Sala.

In January 1997, during one of his trips back to Albania he was physically assaulted.

In 1998, Rama was asked by Prime Minister Fatos Nano to become Minister of Culture. He accepted and immediately became known for his extravagance in a variety of ways.

In October 2000, he entered and won the race for the Tirana mayorship as a Socialist Party candidate against writer Besnik Mustafaj. After taking office, he undertook a radical campaign to return many portions of Tirana's center and Lana River into their original forms by demolishing hundreds of illegal buildings.

In 2003, he appeared before the Albanian parliament in an inquiry commission on abuse of funds in the Municipality of Tirana. During the session, he was seen speaking using a loudspeaker. The commission was eventually closed and Rama acquitted.

Lana River and nearby Rinia Park were restored to pre-1990s state in Tirana

Also in 2003, he won a second term by defeating lawyer Spartak Ngjela, and a third consecutive term by beating Democratic Party of Albania candidate Sokol Olldashi. During the later campaign, his rivals published some photos of Rama in intimate poses on a nudist beach in southern France.[9]

In October 2005, Rama became the leader of the Socialist Party following the resignation of Fatos Nano. As mayor he compiled the Tirana City Master Plan including the Skanderbeg Square project.[10]

In 2010, Rama married Lindita Basha (also known as Lindita Xhillari), a civil society activist. She is of Muslim descent.[11]

In the 2011 local elections, Rama lost by a small margin to a young candidate of the Coalition of the Citizen, Lulzim Basha. The elections were criticized by the monitors and the international community as they were decided in a debatable court ruling.[12] The first ballot count gave Rama the victory by a margin of 10 votes, but afterwards the Central Electoral Committee decided to open the ballot boxes and count the ballots cast in the wrong boxes.

In November 2011, Rama published a reflection book on his years as mayor of Tirana entitled Kurban.

Life as a painter

Rama has had several personal painting exhibitions. Personal exhibitions include: Janos Gallery, New York City (1993); Place de Médiathèque, France (1995); Palais Jalta, Frankfurt (1997); Acud, Berlin (1993); São Paulo, Brazil (1994); Israel (1995); National Art Gallery of Albania, Tirana, Albania (1992); and Gallery XXI, Albania (1999). He is no longer active as an artist.

In 2009, Rama published a collection of personal notes and paintings in a book entitled Edi Rama.[13]

Impact on Tirana

Colorful buildings in Tirana

Rama's most noted impact on the city of Tirana has been the many kiosk demolitions in the city during his mayorship. Rama's Return to Identity project removed from the city many illegally constructed buildings on municipal lands such as pavements, local parks, and the banks of the River Lana. During this period as mayor, he was heavily supported by the Prime Minister of Albania at the time, Ilir Meta, who channeled numerous funds from the central government to the local authority of Tirana, enabling Rama to implement the cleaning-up master project.

In an attempt to widen roads, Rama authorized the bulldozing of private properties so that they could be paved over, thus widening streets. He has been accused of corruption and mismanagement of funds by the opposition, including corruption in the granting of building permits.

His Clean and Green project in 2000 resulted in the production of 96,700 square metres of green land and parks in the city and the planting of nearly 1,800 trees. He also ordered the painting of many old buildings in what has come to be known as Edi Rama colours (very bright pink, yellow, green, violet). Rama's critics claimed that he focused too much attention on cosmetic changes without fixing any of the major problems such as shortages of drinking water and electricity.[14]


Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and Austrian Justice Minister Wolfgang Brandstetter meet the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in Tirana, Albania. (June 17, 2014)

Rama is also the head of the left wing in Albania. He became head of SPA in October 2005. In the 2009 elections, SPA was the most voted party, but won only 65 seats on the parliament out of 140 because of the electoral system. SMI and DPA formed a coalition and a government, while SPA started a few protests for "the transparency of vote". Nowadays, the SPA members of the parliament have joined the Parliament sessions and co-work with their right-wing colleagues.

Rama has been criticised by a group of SPA politicians like Fatos Nano, Arben Malaj, Kastriot Islami, Andis Harasani of leading the party with authoritarian methods. These criticisms may be because he has excluded from the Socialist Party founding member with major contributions in the party and has not appreciated the great contribution of Fatos Nano in the Socialist Party. The second-most-powerful person in SPA is 59-year-old Gramoz Ruçi, the head of the Parliamentarian group and former chief of secret police during communist dictatorship.

Rama said of his time as mayor of Tirana: "It's the most exciting job in the world, because I get to invent and to fight for good causes everyday. Being the mayor of Tirana is the highest form of conceptual art. It's art in a pure state."[15]

On 21 January 2011, Rama took part in the 2011 Albanian opposition demonstrations, in which four people were killed and 150 injured.

Social media

Recently, Rama has started to use social media tools such as Twitter or Facebook to communicate with the electorate and others in general. [16][17]

Prime Minister

Main article: Rama Government

In June 2013, his Socialist party and coalition partners won a majority in the 2013 parliamentary election. After parliament convened on 9 September, the next day President Bujar Nishani named him prime minister and asked him to form a government.[18] Amongst his first tasks, Rama restructured the domestic security infrastructure in a bid to tackle rising crime.[19]


In October 2002, Rama was given an award by Kofi Annan in light of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.[20]

While mayor of Tirana, in 2003, Rama was a "visiting professor" as Robert C. Wood Visiting Professorship of Public and Urban Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Boston (basically a speaking and greeting format).

In December 2004, Rama was named the World Mayor 2004, in an international competition that took place over one year, based on direct voting by Internet, organized by the non-commercial organization CITYMAYORS, located in London.[21]

Rama was chosen by Time magazine to be one of the 2005 European Heroes, a tribute given by the magazine to 37 people who are changing the world for the better.[22]

In Ulcinj Day 2015, Rama, alongside Thaçi, was given the title of Honorary citizen of Ulcinj by Ulcinj Municipality.[23]

Literature and discography

See also


  1. "Edi Rama: "Jam Katolik". Balkanweb (in Albanian). 19 October 2014.
  2. 1 2 "Edi Rama: "Unë nuk praktikoj besim tjetër, përveç atij tek vetja dhe tek njerëzit, por nuk besoj se sidoqoftë eksiztenca ose jo e Zotit është një çështje që mund të zgjidhet ndonjëherë nga të vdekshmit." (in Albanian). Facebook. 8 July 2014.
  3. http://www.gazetadita.al/edi-rama-do-jete-deputet-i-vlores/
  4. "Lidhja e Kristaq Ramës me vajzën e Spiro Kolekës". Gazeta Kritika. 2014-02-23.
  5. "Rama:Jam Katolik i pagëzuar (Rama:I am baptized Catholic)" (Virtual). Dielli.al (in Albanian). 5 September 2014. “Për hir të së vërtetës unë nuk jam ortodoks, unë jam katolik nëse i referohesh pagëzimit”. (En: For the sake of truth I'm not Orthodox, I'm Catholic referring to baptism)
  6. Rowland, Jacky (17 June 2004). "The Mayor Who Brought Colour to Albania". BBC News. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  7. "EDI RAMA" Retrieved 1 July 2015
  8. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/nov/15/meet-edi-rama-albanias-artist-prime-minister-exhibition
  9. http://www.gazeta55.al/index.php?kat=politike&artikulli=10475
  10. Skanderbeg Square#New plan
  11. "Edi Rama martohet fundjavën e ardhshme - Lajme - Top Channel". Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  12. Albanian local elections, 2011#Tirana election
  13. http://www.alsat.tv/kulture/promovohet-libri-i-edi-rames.html
  14. Arie, Sophie. "Regeneration man". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  15. http://www.internationalspecialreports.com/europe/albania/youvegottotear.html
  16. "Debatet e Ramës në Twitter "..derr, bajgë e ferrit, llaxore"". Ekspres.al. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  17. Gazeta Rilindja Demokratike, Rama ne Twitter: Derr, bajge, llaxore, page 2, Date: 2 December 2012
  18. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/albania-names-socialists-edi-rama-as-new-prime-minister/2013/09/10/cabdd0f8-1a13-11e3-80ac-96205cacb45a_story.html
  19. "New Albania Govt Restructures Police Force". Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  20. http://www.oecd.org/speaker/0,3438,en_21571361_31938349_38759801_1_1_1_1,00.html
  21. "City Mayors: Edi Rama - World Mayor 2004". Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  22. Walt, Vivienne (2 October 2005). "A Mayoral Makeover". Time. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  23. Svecana sjednica SO Ulcinj: RAMA I TACI POCASNI GRADJANI (ul-info.me)

Further reading

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Edi Rama.
Political offices
Preceded by
Albert Brojka
Mayor of Tirana
Succeeded by
Lulzim Basha
Preceded by
Sali Berisha
Prime Minister of Albania
Party political offices
Preceded by
Fatos Nano
Chairman of the Socialist Party
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