The US State Department has declared former president and former PM Sali Berisha – a central figure in Albania’s post-Communist politics – ‘persona non-grata’ = unwelcome, citing ‘corrupt acts’ in office, especially when he was prime minister.
Though he is still regarded by various strata of people, whom are also supporters of the Democratic Party, his personal legacy and that of his family, is marred by many scandals that continue to this day. Has over 1 million Facebook followers, while maintaining strong political ties to his party.
However, this recent declaration by the US State Department is another strong indicator that the long era of ‘former communist’ political figures needs to end for Albania and its people.
He was declared ‘non-grata’ together with his wife, son and daughter.
Though he provided a swift response on Facebook, asking for the State Department to provide proof of misdoings, this serves as another important political blow by the U.S. which is the champion of political and corruption reform in the country.
Some of the charges noted in the U.S. State Department declaration include:
- misappropriation of public funds;
- interfering with public processes;
- using his power to benefit and enrich his political allies and his family members;
The declaration states, “His own rhetoric is a demonstration of his will to protect himself, his family members, and his political allies at the expense of independent investigations, anticorruption efforts, and accountability measures.”