Shehu, Mehmet (mĕmĕtˈ shĕˈhō) [key], 1913–81, Albanian political leader, premier (1954–81). A member of the Communist party, he was active in the anti-Fascist resistance in Albania during World War II. In 1944 he became a member of the Albanian provisional government and, following military study in Moscow, was appointed (1946) chief of staff of the Albanian army. He later became minister of the interior, head of the secret police, and deputy premier. In 1954 he replaced Enver Hoxha as chairman of the council of ministers, or premier. He was one of the architects of the Sino-Albanian alliance that triggered Albania's formal break with the Soviet Union in Dec., 1961. In 1981, Shehu, opposed to Hoxha's isolationist policies, became involved in a power struggle, and after being accused of being a Yugoslav spy, was reported to have committed suicide.
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