President Says He and Communists Made Mistakes With AM-Albania-Election
TIRANA, Albania (AP) _ President Ramiz Alia, a former chief of the country’s Communists, on Saturday acknowledged the party had made mistakes in its four decades of iron- fisted rule.
But Alia, who some observers say could face an effort to oust him after Sunday’s parliamentary elections, also insisted that the Communist legacy was not all bad.
Alia, 66, now leads the Socialists - the former Communists. His party won last year’s election, but strikes and protests made it impossible for them to govern the country of 3.2 million people.
″There is no doubt that under the socialist systems a lot of bad things occurred,″ Alia told The Associated Press. ″There were limitations - political and economic - and there were errors that prevented development.″
But he also credited the Communists with improving Albanians’ life expectancy and eliminating illiteracy.
Alia took over as head of the Balkan country in 1985 after the death of dictator Enver Hoxha. Under Hoxha, Albania was almost completely isolated. Alia gradually implemented reforms.
Supporters of the Democrats have clamored at recent rallies for Alia’s resignation. He is the only former top Communist official who is not under arrest.
Among those jailed is Hoxha’s 72-year-old widow, Nexhmije, considered a leader of Communists who oppose change.
Alia said it was a shame she was jailed on charged that he called ″doubtful.″
Mrs. Hoxha and other former top officials have been charged with a variety of economic offenses and corruption, but it is unclear if and when a trial will be held.