Kosovo’s 38-year-old president takes office

International

Kosovo newly elected president Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, inspects the Guard of Honour during a presidential hand over ceremony in capital Pristina, Kosovo, on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. 38-year old Osmani took over the presidency after being elected to the post during a two-day extraordinary session of parliament.(AP Photo/ Visar Kryeziu)

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo’s new president took office on Tuesday, becoming the country’s youngest head of state and one of the youngest in the world.

Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, 38, was elected to a five-year term on Sunday by Kosovo’s Assembly, or Parliament, making her the Balkan nation’s second female leader in the post-war period.

Osmani-Sadriu took office Tuesday in a ceremony with a guard of honor. Acting President Glauk Konjufca handed over the country’s constitution, avoiding a more formal ceremony due to the pandemic.

Osmani-Sadriu was formerly acting president from November until late March. She replaced Hashim Thaci, who resigned after facing charges for war crimes and crimes against humanity at a special court based in The Hague. Thaci was a guerrilla leader during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia in the late 1990s.

The post of Kosovo’s president is largely ceremonial, but she also plays a leading role in foreign policy and as the commander of the armed forces.

Resuming normalization talks with former war foe Serbia will be a priority on her list, even though the government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti has said it’s not high among its own goals.

Kosovo became independent in 2008. It is recognized by more than 100 countries but not by Serbia or Serbian allies like Russia and China.

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