Kosovo’s parliament picks reformist Vjosa Osmani as president

Vjosa Osmani is a coalition partner of Kosovo’s prime minister Albin Kurti.

Reformist lawyer Vjosa Osmani has been elected as Kosovo’s president for a five-year term.

A 38-year-old U.S.-educated jurist, Osmani was already serving as interim president after Hashim Thaçi’s resignation last year to face charges of crimes against humanity.

“We will be eternally grateful to those who stand by Kosovo through freedom and independence and the establishment of the state. Today we ask them to stand by our side in our common goals for rapid integration into Euro-Atlantic structures,” Osmani said during her victory speech.

Osmani won 71 votes from the 82 members of parliament present. Representatives of the Serbian ethnic minority and members of Thaçi’s party of former guerilla fighters boycotted the election.

“Congratulations to Vjosa Osmani on her election as President, and to those MPs who performed their duty as members of the Assembly,” the U.S. ambassador to Kosovo Philip Kosnett tweeted.

Osmani is a coalition partner of Kosovo’s prime minister Albin Kurti and his reformist social-democratic Vetëvendosje party, which won a landslide victory in this year’s parliamentary elections.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Now that Osmani and Kurti’s reformist coalition is in power, they will be faced not only with the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination drive, but also with easing political tensions with Serbia that stem from the Yugoslav wars. 

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