Kosovo: President Resigns Upcoming Talks with Serbia May be Affected     Print Email

(September 27)  Kosovo’s President, Fatmir Sejdiu, abruptly announced his resignation today after the nation’s Constitutional Court ruled that he had violated the country’s constitution by simultaneously holding the presidency and the leadership of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).

Sejdiu, 58-year-old former law professor, was elected to the largely ceremonial post of President by the parliament for the second time in 2008, but he also remained the leader of the LDK, Kosovo’s second largest party and currently the junior partner in Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s coalition government.

Sejdiu’s resignation brings into question the power-sharing deal with the party of the Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, a former rebel leader, whose Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) is country’s largest. If Mr. Thaci’s party approves a presidential candidate presented by the LDK, the coalition could hold. But, if no deal is reached, the split could force Kosovo into its first general election since declaring independence from Serbia.

Local analyst Ramush Tahiri believes that Sejdiu’s resignation could destabilize Kosovo’s readiness for European-led talks with Serbia starting next month. The resignation comes at a very sensitive juncture for Kosovo, as Brussels and Washington are encouraging Pristina and Belgrade to engage in constructive “dialogue” for the first time since Kosovo’s proclamation of independence in February 2008.  Kosovo is recognized by about 70 countries including the United States and 22 of the 27 EU member states. The five EU holdouts are Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain. Neither Russia nor China recognize Kosovo.

The speaker of the Kosovar parliament, Jakup Krasniqi (PDK) will temporarily perform the president’s duties, but a permanent PDK presidency would be in violation of the existing government’s coalition agreement. Constitutionally empowered to elect the President, the parliament has 60 days in which to appoint a successor to Sejdiu, who will need to win the support of two-thirds of the deputies in the 120-seat parliament.

 

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