Kosovo MPs elect reformist lawyer Vjosa Osmani as president

Vjosa Osmani

The 38-year-old reformist backing from the parliament in a vote boycotted by a Serb party. The position became free in November after Hashim Thaci was charged with war crimes.

The 38-year-old reformist and lawyer was approved by the country’s parliament in Pristina after being proposed by Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s ruling Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) party. Osmani is Kosovo’s second female leader following Atifete Jahjaga, who served as president between 2011 and 2016.

Osmani received 71 votes from the 82 lawmakers present, making her the “elected President of the Republic,” parliament speaker Glauk Konjufca said.

Two opposition parties and the ethnic Serb minority party refused to take part in the vote.

The position became vacant in November after Hashim Thaci resigned after being charged with war crimes. Osmani, who previously served as the speaker for Kosovo’s 120-seat parliament, took over the presidential role provisionally ahead of the Sunday vote.

Osmani started her carrier as a teenage activist. She studied law in Pristina and then completed her masters and bachelor degrees in the US University of Pittsburgh. The politician was one of the leaders of the Democratic League of Kosovo (DLK) which is now in opposition, but was ousted after inter-party strife.

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