Kosovo elects new Government

Prishtinë, 9 January 2008 – The 120-seat Parliament of Kosovo elected today the 40-year-old chairman of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and former political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army UÇK, Hashim Thaçi, to head the new Kosovo Government for a period of four years.

The voting follows an agreement on forming a coalition reached by Kosovo’s two main political parties, the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, and their formerly bitter rivals, the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK.

Both parties signed this agreement on Monday after several weeks of tough negotiations following the inconclusive parliamentary elections held on 17 November.

Thaçi will preside over a cabinet of 15 ministries, out of which seven will belong to his party and five to the LDK, while three ministries will be run by representatives of ethnic minorities living in Kosovo.

As part of the deal, Kosovo’s President Fatmir Sejdiu, a veteran LDK politician, will remain in his post for a new five-year term. It follows last year’s agreement among political parties and the UN administration in Kosovo, UNMIK, to amend the constitutional framework that stipulates a three-year term for the presidency.

Jakup Krasniqi, secretary general of PDK and a former spokesman of the UÇK, has been elected for the position of the President of the Parliament of Kosovo.

The new government will have following members:

Hashim Thaçi (PDK), Prime Minister

Hajredin Kuqi (PDK), Vice Prime Minister

Ramë Manaj (LDK), Vice Prime Minister

Fatmir Limaj (PDK), Minister of Transportation and Telecommunication

Zenun Pajaziti (PDK), Minister of Interior

Nekibe Kelmendi (LDK), Minister of Justice

Arsim Bajrami (PDK), Minister of Public Services

Ahmet Shala (PDK), Minister of Finance and Economy

Enver Hoxhaj (PDK), Minister of Education, Science and Technology

Skender Hyseni (LDK), Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports

Sadri Ferati (LDK), Minister of Local Government

Mahir Yagcilar (KDTP), Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning

Nenad Rashic (SLS), Minister of Labour and Social Welfare

Lutfi Zharku (LDK), Minister of Trade and Industry

Justina Pula-Shiroka (PDK), Minister of Energy and Mining

Alush Gashi (LDK), Minister of Health

Boban Stankovic, Ministry for Returns and Communities

Idriz Vehapi (PDK), Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

In his speech in front of the Kosovar Parliament, the newly elected Prime Minister, Hashim Thaçi, mentioned the economic development and investments in energy and infrastructure as priorities of the new government. He also announced a series of measures to promote foreign investments in Kosovo.

Kosovo has been administered by the UN since NATO bombing in 1999 pushed out Serbian forces to end the ethnic cleansing and mass killing of ethnic Albanians.

Kosovo’s newly-elected authorities are set to declare the territory’s independence from Serbia, in accordance with Ahtisaari’s plan, within weeks.