Deadlock in vote for Kosovo presidency

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The Independent Online

Members of Kosovo's new parliament failed to elect a president yesterday after rival parties refused to participate in the voting.

Ibrahim Rugova's Democratic League of Kosovo won last month's parliamentary elections, taking 47 seats in a 120-member assembly. The result gave Mr Rugova, a moderate politician associated with ethnic Albanian aspirations for independence, a mandate to govern, but only in a coalition.

After the elections, he met the former rebel leader Hashim Thaci, head of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK), which won 26 seats, to discuss forming a coalition government. But the party leaders have not reached agreement on power sharing and, in the assembly's inaugural session on Monday, Mr Thaci and his party members left the chamber in protest. Yesterday the DPK and another ethnic Albanian party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, which won 8 per cent of the vote, refused to vote and Mr Rugova secured only 49 votes, well short of the required two-thirds majority.

A DPK spokesman said his group was prepared to vote for Mr Rugova but only after a power-sharing arrangement had been reached.