power-generating facilities were nationalized next. All forest lands became the property of the state. At first, landowners were permitted to work a maximum of 40 acres, but this concession was soon terminated. By the summer of 1946, all industrial firms had been taken over by the state, and retail trade had been declared state monopoly. Foreign trade was completely taken over by state organs. However, it was only in 1955 that the state began an all-out collectivization drive in the rural communities.
Prifti Peter R. Socialist Albania Since 1944: Domestic and Foreign Developments ( Cambridge, MA, 1978).
Politics in Post-Communist Albania. The collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union had a profound effect on the most brutal regime of them all in the region. Ramiz Alia (see Alia, Ramiz), the heir to Enver Hoxha (see Hoxha, Enver), held onto power for the time being, but his situation was becoming ever more precarious. In December 1990, student strikes at the University of Tirana forced Alia to accede to the holding of multi-party elections. Nevertheless, unrest continued in the country.
In February 1991, an enraged mass demonstration ended by toppling the giant statue of Hoxha, located on Skanderbeu square in Tirana. Six new parties emerged, and they all participated in the elections held in March. Alia was still able to slow down the march of events. In February, he set up a Presidential Council which strengthened his control over governmental affairs. At the same time, he tried to calm the situation by acceding to some demands of the opposition.
The general elections were held on March 31, 1991. A huge number of people, about 95 percent of all those who were eligible, cast their votes. A new legislature of 257 members was elected. The Albanian Workers' (formerly Communist) party won two-thirds of the seats in the new parliament, but the opposition also had a strong showing. In June, the Albanian Workers' party changed its name once again, this time to the Albanian Socialist party. But this change was recognized by the population for what it was, namely, an effort to dissociate the current communist leaders from the sins of the party's past.
The major oppositional organization, the Democratic party, continued to point out that only the name of the Communist party has been changed, not the aims of its leaders. Alia on his part countered that the Democratic party was aiming at the reestablishment of a one-party dictatorship in Albania, this time its own. Meanwhile, bloody confrontations took place between police and demonstrators in the major cities. In Shkoder, whose population had a long anti-communist tradition, four people were killed by the police in early April 1991, including the leader of the local branch of the Democratic party. In response, police vehicles were burned, and the local headquarters of the Socialist party were torched.
During 1991, the Albanian economy slowly ground to a halt. Tens of thousands of Albanian citizens, mostly young people, were seeking refuge in neighboring coun-