Bashkim Fino, who was appointed to shepherd Albania out of almost total chaos when fraudulent investment schemes collapsed 24 years ago and angry crowds looted military installations nationwide, has died. He was 58.
Fino was a trained economist and former mayor of Gjirokastra, 230 kilometers (140 miles) south of the capital, Tirana. He was appointed in 1997 by Albania’s president to lead a government of national unity.
The country was on the brink of total anarchy following the collapse of widespread and wildly popular pyramid investment schemes, in which very many Albanians lost their life savings. Fino served for five months until early elections were held which brought the Socialists to power.
He was credited with restoring normality in a country where central and local government structures had collapsed in the face of the protests, during which civilians entered army depots and looted vast quantities of arms. About 3,000 people died in the ensuing violence.
“Mr. Fino will be remembered for his leadership, at a very young age, of Albania’s National Reconciliation Government during the difficult year 1997, as well as for his contributions to the lawmaking process during his extensive political career,” the U.S. Embassy in Tirana said in a statement.
He is survived by his wife, a daughter and a son.