Following the death of Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova, Kosovo’s parliament elected law professor Fatmir Sejdiu as the next president of Kosovo. Sejdiu was the only candidate for the post, nominated by his Democratic League of Kosovo after a two-week mourning period for Rugova.
Sejdiu won the election by a vote of 80 to 12. He has previously served as the party’s secretary-general and as a member of parliament. Upon his election, Sejdiu noted that he supported an independent Kosovo, along the lines of his predecessor, promising to work closely with the United States and the EU to ensure that independence is achieved.
He also stated in his acceptance speech the importance of protecting minority rights and ensuring that Kosovo is at peace with its neighbors. Many observers view Sejdiu as a political moderate within his party.
His election, however, did not come without controversy. The parliament advanced the date of the election after criticism from UNMIK chief Soren Jessen-Petersen and some political leaders in Kosovo regarding parliament’s presidency unnecessarily delaying the vote.
As the new president, Sejdiu will play a role in Kosovo’s upcoming final status talks to be held in Vienna beginning later this month.