Former Albanian PM Bashkim Fino dies from Covid at 58

Bashkim Fino MP
Bashkim Fino Albanian MP dies from Covid at 58

Tirana, Albania | 29 March 2021 (Tirana Echo) – Former prime minister and widely respected Albanian lawmaker Bashkim Fino died last night at the age of 58 from a heart attack, following two weeks of Covid 19 infection.

Mr. Fino who served as Albania’s Prime Minister during the 1997 chaotic period following the burst of a series of fraudulent ‘pyramid schemes’, commanded the respect of a wide portion of the political spectrum in the small Balkan nation, thanks to his sincerity and old style handling of political relations and debates in parliament.

The Albanian government declared a day of national mourning while hundreds paid homage to Mr. Fino’s coffin at the Palace of Congresses in Tirana ahead of a smaller more private funeral.

Mr. Fino was a socialist lawmaker born in the southern city of Gjirokastra who apart from heading Albania’s national unity government in 1997, has served as Mayor of Gjirokastra and several mandates as MP at the Albanian Parliament.

Fino, an economist, is credited with restoring government credibility and calming down political tensions in 1997 amid chaos and anarchy following the collapse of fraudulent pyramid investment schemes where a large proportion of Albanians had invested their lifetime savings.  He lead a government of national unity while civilians were looting army depots and creating chaotic scenes across the country. At least 3000 people died as a result of stray bullets and lawlessness.

Albania’s PM Edi Rama halted all electoral activities of the Socialist Party in honor of Fino, while opposition leader Lulzim Basha reciprocated by also cancelling his activities while telling the media that Fino was “an important voice serving political and social stability in the country”.

Albania’s President Ilir Meta, a former socialist ally of Fino, said his loss “has caused great pain and has left us all speechless”.

Hundreds of people, politicians, lawmakers and diplomatic corps representatives paid homage.

Mr. Fino was running for another parliamentary term in the district of Fier during the upcoming April 25th general elections. His name has been left empty on the voting ballot by the Socialist Party as a sign of respect by his colleagues. 

Mr. Fino is survived by his wife and two children, a daughter and a son.


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