Enver Hoxha, interim constitution, Marxism-Leninism, dissension, iron fist
From 1944 to 1991 Albania’s government was controlled completely by the Communist Party, known from 1948 as the Albanian Party of Labor (APL). The party’s preeminence was assured by the 1976 constitution, which defined the APL as the “sole leading political force of state and society” and named Marxism-Leninism as the country’s official ideology. Power was effectively consolidated in one man, Enver Hoxha. He was first secretary, or head, of the party’s Politburo (the policy-making body) from 1944 until his death in 1985. Hoxha ruled Albania with an iron fist and stifled any dissension. The party’s control over society and public institutions, which was near-absolute, was reinforced by the Sigurimi, the secret police.
After Hoxha’s death in 1985, Albania began to emerge from its isolation. Anti-Communist upheavals swept across Eastern Europe in 1989, and in 1990 Albania legalized opposition parties. In March 1991, after an interim constitution was approved, Albania held its first multiparty elections in nearly 50 years.
In November 1998 voters approved Albania’s first post-Communist constitution, which declared the country a parliamentary republic. The new constitution provides for multiparty elections and guarantees freedoms of speech, religion, press, assembly, and organization.
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