Kosovo’s first female president, Atifete Jahjaga, tells VOA that her selection to the post by parliament this month lays the foundation for direct elections in the near future.
In her first interview since becoming president on April 7, Jahjaga told VOA’s Albanian Service that her selection “will continue the process towards constitutional change that would enable the country to elect a president by direct vote.”
Jahjaga, a former Deputy General Director of Kosovo Police, was elected with 80 votes by the 120-seat Parliament. She has never before held political office. Her selection ended weeks of political negotiations after the country’s constitutional court ruled that the process used to make the previous choice for president violated the constitution.
“I will use all my energies to fulfill my new assignment and obligations” Jahjaga said. “I believe that with the help of Kosovo institutions and friends of Kosovo, we will fulfill the objectives and obligations of Kosovo and its citizens.”
VOA also questioned Jahjaga about talks with Serbia, which has refused to recognize Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence. She said an agreement with Belgrade should be reached, but any resolution contrary to the will of the people of Kosovo would be unacceptable.
She also reiterated the government’s position that the Serb-dominated north should remain a part of Kosovo: “The issue of the north is an internal issue of Kosovo and any new arrangement or other arrangement would be unacceptable.”
The interview was broadcast on VOA Albanian’s popular flagship TV show, Ditari. The daily 30-minute prime-time program reaches an estimated 65% of the adult population of Kosovo weekly. It also has a 43% audience share in Albania. For more on the VOA Albanian Service visit our website at www.voanews.com/albanian/news.