New President of Kosovo
Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, who holds a doctorate in law, was elected Kosovo's six president, making her the second female president in Kosovo. Osmani, who is quite popular among the population, was born in Mitrovica in 1982, is married, the mother of two twin daughters, and completed her Master of Laws and PhD at the Pittsburgh School of Law, USA.
It had been extremely close: It was only in the third and final round of voting that she received the required majority in parliament, with 71 votes, after failing to achieve the required two-thirds majority in the first two rounds of voting. Under Kosovo's constitution, a simple majority is sufficient in the third round of voting. If it had failed to do so, early elections would have been unavoidable once again, the third within 18 months. This year, there are still local elections to be held in the fall.
Two opposition parties, the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), as well as the ethnic Serb minority Srpska Lista, boycotted the vote. Three LDK deputies, former Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, former Interior Minister Agim Veliu, and former Deputy Prime Minister Driton Selmanaj attended both sessions but refused to vote.
Two deputies who were absent from Saturday's session, Adem Hodza of the Unique Gorani Party and Fadil Gashi of the Romani Initiative, ensured the validity of the voting process by participating in Saturday's vote.
However, the highlight of the voting process was provided by two other MPs, Albena Reshitaj of AAK (former AKR MP and former AKR Vice President) and Adelina Grainca of PDK, who joined Vetevendosje, VV.
Ambassador Rohde of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Kosovo immediately congratulated the newly elected president, saying:
"I congratulate Ms. Vjosa Osmani on her election as President of Kosovo. Germany will continue to be a close friend and partner for Kosovo. I look forward to working closely together to further intensify relations."
The only liberal member of parliament, former foreign minister and short-lived president of Kosovo, Behgjet Pacolli, president of the Alliance New Kosovo, AKR, played a decisive role in Osmani's election. Although part of the parliamentary opposition, he voted for Osmani. Pacolli said, "I am happy that today I could contribute to the election of the next president of Kosovo. I am not a man full of hatred or revenge, I remain constructive and open. I will always respect the will of the citizens! I will stand by you, congratulations Madam President!''
After resigning from the leadership of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) in June 2020, Osmani founded the independent political list Guxo (Dare), which contested the Feb. 14 elections in coalition with the leftist Vetevendosje (VV) party.
The office of president in Kosovo is largely representative in nature, but as the incumbent, one is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces. In her first speech as president, Osmani called for dialogue aimed at normalizing relations with Serbia. However, she said Belgrade must first apologize and prosecute those responsible for war crimes during the 1998-99 war that eventually led to Kosovo's independence in 2008. "Peace would only be achieved if we see repentance and an apology from Serbia and if we see justice for those who suffered from their crimes," Osmani said.