|Leader Edi Rama|
Name Socialist of
Founded 12 June 1991
Chairperson Erion Veliaj
|Leader of the Parliamentary Group Gramoz Ruci and Mimi Kodheli|
Preceded by Party of Labour of Albania
Albania socialist party celebrates victory
The Socialist Party of Albania (Albanian: Partia Socialiste e Shqipërisë, PS or PSSh), is a social-democratic political party in Albania; it gained power following the 2013 parliamentary election. The party seated 66 MPs in the 2009 Albanian parliament (out of a total of 140). It achieved power in 1997 following a political crisis and governmental realignment. At the 2001 parliamentary election the party secured 73 seats, which enabled it to form a government. At the general election of 3 July 2005, the Socialist Party lost its majority and the Democratic Party of Albania (PD) formed the new government, having secured, with its allies, a majority of 81 seats.
The Socialist Party of Albania is an associate of the Party of European Socialists (PES) and a member of the Socialist International. The official party newspaper is Zëri i Popullit, which had been the organ of its predecessor, the Communist Party of Labour of Albania.
The party, formed in November 1941, has been known as the Socialist Party since 1991, when it survived in the wake of the dramatic changes that had taken place in Albania since 1989. The Communist Party of Labour of Albania (PPSh), the only ruling party since the end of World War II, was the most rigid Stalinist party in Europe under its founder and longtime leader, Enver Hoxha. However, Hoxha's successor, Ramiz Alia, was forced to introduce limited reforms in the late 1980s. Finally, on 11 December 1990, Alia announced that the PPSh had given up its monopoly of power.
The PPSh won the Constitutional Assembly elections of March 1991—the first free elections held in the country in almost 80 years. By this time, however, it was no longer a Marxist–Leninist party. At an extraordinary congress in June 1991, in its efforts to survive in the new system, the PPSh voted to change its name to PS.
Fatos Nano, a man from the intelligentsia, was elected the new chairman. Nano helped to reform the old communist party and made it a member of the Socialist International. On 1 September 2005 Nano resigned as the chairman of the Socialist Party, after losing the elections. He was succeeded by Edi Rama.
Fatos Nano was the head of Socialist Party of Albania from 1991-2005. In 2005, after a defeat at the election, he resigned from his post. PS's current leader is Edi Rama, former Mayor of Tirana. Gramoz Ruçi, who was Interior Minister of the last cabinet of the communist regime and is well known for his loyalty to the party, is the head of the Socialist Group, which has 64 MPs. Ben Blushi is a very important party politician that has strongly criticised the way Edi Rama is leading the Socialist Party. Niko Peleshi was the mayor of Korce and then the Deputy Prime Minister. Vice-coordinators of the group are Erjon Braçe, Vasilika Hysi, Saimir Tahiri, Eduard Shalsi and Taulant Balla. Arta Dade is the party secretary for international affairs, and she is assisted by Arben Ahmetaj, Taulant Balla, Olta Xhaçka, Ditmir Bushati and Qemal Minxhozi. Ahmetaj and Balla usually deal with PS relationships with the other left-wing parties in Europe, especially with the Greek Panhellenic Socialist Movement, with whom PS is very close. Blendi Klosi (former Culture Minister and PS organizative secretary), is also seen as a very important politician in PS, as well as Fatmir Xhafaj (lawyer and former Justice Minister).
The party has pledged in its 2013 party platform to replace the flat-rate personal income tax with more progressive taxation. The party also supports universal health care funded by taxation. The party leader Edi Rama has indicated that he supports LGBT rights and domestic partnerships.