Alfred Moisiu : biography
Education and career
In 1946 he was sent to the Soviet Union as a student. In 1948 he graduated from the military engineering school in Saint Petersburg (then Leningrad). He served in Tirana as a platoon-commander at the United Officers’ School (1948–1949) and as a teacher at the Military Academy (1949–1951). From 1952 to 1958 he attended the Academy of Military Engineering in Moscow, graduating with a Golden Medal (a distinction for excellent study).
Back in Albania, Moisiu continued his military career in the engineers’ department of the Ministry of Defense. From 1967 to 1968 he attended to the higher courses of general staff at the Defense Academy of Tirana. At the same time he commanded a pontoon brigade in Kavajë (1966–1971). In 1971 he became the chief of the Bureau of Engineering and Fortifications of the Ministry of Defense (under Enver Hoxha when thousands of concrete casements were built as defense against states held to be hostile).
In 1979, Moisiu received a PhD in military science. From 1981 he was Deputy Minister of Defense. Under the ministers Beqir Balluku, Mehmet Shehu and Kadri Hasbiu he held this post until October 1982 (Prime Minister Shehu died violently in December 1981). During this time Moisiu was the main architect of the bunkerisation of Albania. He was appointed by Enver Hoxha to fill Albania with bunkers, a legacy that Albania has until today. But the bunkerisation of Albania produced a disaster, causing Enver Hoxha to send Moisiu to Burrel, where he served as the commander of an engineers’ company from 1982 to 1984. Moisiu left active service as a general.
He returned to public life in December 1991 when he was appointed Minister of Defense in Vilson Ahmeti’s technocratic government. He held that post until April 1992 when the first Government of the Democratic Party, led by Aleksander Meksi, was formed.
As he was a top communist aparatchik, the new executive invited Moisiu to work as a counselor to the Minister of Defense. In 1994, Safet Zhulali appointed him the deputy minister charged with elaborating the defence politics of Albania. Moisiu’s advice was to concentrate the efforts to the reconstruction of the armed forces that were in bad condition, and to start preparations for joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). In 1994 he founded the Albanian North Atlantic Association and was elected as its president. On January 24, 1995 he signed an individual association treaty binding Albania with NATO’s Partnership for Peace project. From 1995, Moisiu attended to the VIPs’ courses of the NATO College in Rome.
When the Albanian Socialist Party came to power in 1997, Moisiu lost his post in the Ministry. In the following years, he took an active part in extra-governmental activity, organizing international and all-Albanian conferences where issues of security and defense in South East Europe, armament control and collecting arms from civil persons were discussed.
Re-emergence in politics
In 2002, under pressure from international organizations, Moisiu was chosen by Sali Berisha and Fatos Nano as a consensus candidate for the presidency after the end of Rexhep Meidani’s term. Moisiu was found fitting for that post since he was a researcher, was politically neutral, was known as an effective mediator (a quality much appreciated in Albania, which tends to inner quarrels) and had a decisive pro-Western and NATO orientation.
Albanian media emphasized the unusual cooperative spirit between the Albanian Socialist Party and the Albanian Democratic Party: Moisiu was a candidate approved by both Berisha and Nano. Neither Nano nor former president Meidani ran for the presidency, as they had no chance to gather the necessary three fifths of the vote. Meidani was found to be too close to the Socialists, and therefore conservative candidates would not support him.
Moisiu was elected by the People’s Assembly by a vote of 97 to 19 (with 14 abstentions) and he was sworn in for a five-year term as president on July 24, 2002.
After the constitutional reform of November 1998, politics is mainly the task of the government. Moisiu promised to contribute to the strengthening of parliamentary democracy, the stabilization of the judiciary system and the integration of Albania into Euro-Atlantic structures.
The day after the beginning of Moisiu’s presidency, Socialist Prime Minister Pandeli Majko resigned, and the president appointed Fatos Nano, the leader of the Socialist Party, the new Prime Minister of Albania. That change was a sign of dissension within the party, and compensated Nano for giving up his ambitions for the presidency.
Moisiu has since strongly criticized Nano for excessive concentration of power and the slowness of reforms.
He has been appointed as a
- : Knight Grand Cross of the Croatian Grand Order of King Tomislav ( July 2, 2007), "For outstanding contribution to the promotion of friendship and development co-operation between the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Albania."
- : Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great (27 March 2007) Lithuanian Presidency Website,
- : Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Moisiu speaks Russian, Italian, and English. He has written many articles and research papers on military science, and defense and security issues. His book Kosovo: Between War and Peace was published in English in 2005.