Kosovo gets new president, its second female leader
PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Lawmakers in Kosovo elected and swore in a new president Sunday for a five-year term, the Balkan nation’s second female leader in the post-war period.
The 120-seat parliament, which convened in an extraordinary session for two days, gave 71 votes for Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, the former parliament speaker, in the third round of voting, while 11 votes were invalid.
Two opposition parties and the ethnic Serb minority party boycotted the voting.
In November, the 38-year-old Osmani-Sadriu temporarily replaced former President Hashim Thaci, a guerrilla leader during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia in the late 1990s, who resigned after facing charges for war crimes and crimes against humanity at a special court based in The Hague.
Osmani-Sadriu, post-war Kosovo’s seventh president and its second female one, had the backing of the left-wing Self-Determination Movement, or Vetevendosje!, which won Kosovo’s Feb. 14 early election in a landslide. The party now holds the three top posts: the president, the speaker and the prime minister.
Osmani-Sadriu was the top vote-getter in that election.
As president, she will have largely a ceremonial post as the head of state. But she also has a leading position in foreign policy and is the commander of the armed forces.
Resuming normalization talks with former war foe Serbia is a priority in her list, even though the government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti has said it’s not high in its key goals.
Kosovo became independent in 2008 after NATO intervened in 1999 to stop then-Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic’s bloody crackdown on Albanian independence fighters’ insurrection. It is recognized by more than 100 countries but not by Serbia or Serbian allies like Russia and China.