This chapter focuses on the changes that occurred in Albania following the Socialist Party’s return to power. With Fatos Nano as prime minister, the new government faced two essential tasks: restore order and rebuild the economy. In large parts of the country the state had weak or no control. The challenge was to strengthen the state without returning to undemocratic ways. Economically, the picture also looked bleak. The lek had fallen against the dollar by 40 percent. Inflation was 28 percent. Millions of dollars invested in the pyramid schemes had disappeared. Over time and with foreign aid, the economy slowly improved. Order returned, although swaths of the mountainous north remained out of control. Nano appointed as minister of culture the artist Edi Rama, who tried to revive Albania’s cultural life. A referendum in November 1998 finally approved a new constitution. This chapter examines the systemic spread of corruption in Albania under communist rule.
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