Kosovan parliament speaker Kadri Veseli told a press conference on February 24 that the assembly’s presidency has scheduled a parliamentary session for Friday when lawmakers will vote on the country’s new president, KosovaPress news agency reported.
Kosovo’s first deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs Hashim Thaci, leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK), is expected to become the next president. Under the coalition deal struck between the DPK and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) in 2014, Thaci stood down as prime minister, making way for the LDK’s Isa Mustafa, but the parties are understood to have agreed that Thaci will be appointed president when Atifete Jahjaga stands down in April.
The only candidate standing against Thaci is Rafet Rama, another member of the PDK, Balkan Insight reported.
Either candidate would need support from 80 of Kosovo’s 120 MPs to be elected president in the first round of voting.
Although Thaci is the favoured candidate, his appointment is not a foregone conclusion. Seven LDK MPs have already said they oppose his election and others could reject the party line in the secret ballot. Since a two-thirds majority is required in the first round of voting, Thaci also needs the support of the Serb List MPs to secure victory.
On February 23, opposition activists set up tents in front of the main government building in Pristina in order to prevent Thaci from becoming president and force the government to resign.
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