Thaci sworn in as new president of Kosovo

Thaci sworn in as new president of Kosovo
By bne IntelliNews April 7, 2016

Hashim Thaci was sworn in as Kosovo's president in a special session of parliament on April 7.

Thaci's inauguration was boycotted by the opposition and according to local media protesters hurled stones at the parliament during the ceremony, indicating that divisions between the ruling coalition and the three main opposition parties remain as deep as ever.

Thaci, who will replace Atifete Jahjaga as president, was elected by MPs on February 26. On April 4, Kosovo’s Constitutional Court rejected an appeal filed by opposition lawmakers contesting his election, which opened the way for the inauguration ceremony.

"Today is a special moment in my life, a moment of pride and responsibility. In my political career I was committed to all processes that have brought freedom and independence," Thaci said in his speech in the parliament.

Thaci will serve a five-year term as president.

“Dear citizens, from today I assumed a new task, with new responsibilities, but always at your service,” Thaci said on his Facebook page.

An official inauguration ceremony will take place on March 8 in the central square in Pristina.

Thaci is the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo. Kosovo's former prime minister, he also served as foreign minister and deputy prime minister in the government led by prime minister Isa Mustafa.

He also led the rebels of Kosovo's separatist war against Serbia in 1998-99. Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but it still not recognised by Serbia.

Lawmakers eventually elected Thaci in three rounds of voting on February 26. Only one opposition MP participated, whereas all others boycotted the vote. Thaci did not achieve the required support of two-thirds of all lawmakers in the first two rounds, but the third and last round required a simple majority. Thaci was supported by 71 lawmakers in the 120-seat assembly in the third round. 81 MPs participated in the election, with the remaining 10 votes being invalid.

Kosovo's opposition is angry about a government EU-backed deal with Serbia, supported by Thaci, for establishing a community of Serb majority municipalities, giving more powers to Serb minority in Kosovo.

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