party in the 1930s. It consisted of small cells; regional units; and the national leadership. In 1986, the party had 101,500 members out of a population of approximately 3 million. The Central Committee consisted of 115 members. The Politburo, with fifteen members, was the real seat of power. The Politburo operated on the basis of the so-called principle of democratic centralism. This meant that, after a decision had been made by the central party organs, no further discussions were permitted. Periodic purges of leaders and party members occurred in the Communist party of Albania (see Purges). Even Mehemet Shehu (see Shehu, Mehemet) could not avoid being purged in 1981, after which he committed suicide. In 1945, only 15 percent of party members were industrial workers. By 1976, their ratio increased to 37 percent. However, this number included the members of the huge party bureaucracy who were all classified as workers.
The party consciously fostered the country's isolation from the outside world. It was "building socialism" under conditions of "fierce encirclement" by imperialist and revisionist enemies. But the idea of encirclement was ideological only. It was disseminated to the population by radio, newspapers, and television. It led to campaigns against Western fashions in clothing, even against Western tourists who were considered to be nothing less than spies.
The communist system lasted in Albania until 1990. Then the Communist party (already renamed the Albanian Party of Labor) changed names once again, calling itself the Albanian Socialist party. Ramiz Alia (see Alia, Ramiz), the successor to Enver Hoxha, continued as premier, and the socialists won the elections that year. Only in 1991 was Alia finally ousted from power ending the communist period in Albanian history.
Marmalluku Ramadan, Albania and the Albanians ( London, 1975); Pano Nicholas C. The Socialist Republic of Albania ( Baltimore, 1968); Prifti Peter R., "The Labor Party of Albania," in Stephen Fischer-Galati, ed. The Communist Parties of Eastern Europe ( New York, 1979).
Constituent Assembly. The assembly was established in December 1945, after the elections, as a front organization for the Albanian Communist party. It was intended to placate Western public opinion. The task of creating a new constitution was assigned to the assembly. However, a law that was passed in October 1945 made it practically impossible to field opposition candidates in the coming elections. The elections, held on December 2, witnessed 89 percent of the electorate eligible to vote casting their ballots. Ninety-three percent allegedly cast their votes in favor of the candidates of the Democratic Front, another front organization of the Communist party. There was only one list of candidates for the elections. The Constituent Assembly met on January 10, 1946. It abolished the monarchy and proclaimed Albania to be a People's Republic on the Yugoslav pattern.