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Kosovo Assembly Election - 2004-10-23

In March 2004, Kosovo experienced its worst inter-ethnic violence since the Kosovo war. The unrest in 2004 was sparked by a series of minor events that soon cascaded into large-scale riots. Kosovo Serb communities and Serbian Orthodox churches were targeted in the violence.

In October 2004, Kosovo held elections for the second 3-year term of the Kosovo Assembly. For the first time, Kosovo's own Central Election Commission administered these elections, under Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) guidance. The main ethnic Albanian political parties were the same as in the 2001 elections, but with the addition of the new party ORA, led by Veton Surroi, and two new Kosovo Serb parties: the Serbian List for Kosovo and Metohija (SLKM) led by Oliver Ivanovic, and the Citizens Initiative of Serbia led by Slavisa Petkovic. In contrast to the previous Kosovo Government, this election produced a "narrow" coalition of two parties, the LDK and AAK. The December 3, 2004 inaugural session of the Kosovo Assembly re-elected Ibrahim Rugova as President and Ramush Haradinaj as Prime Minister.

In March 2005, Haradinaj resigned as Prime Minister after being indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY); Haradinaj voluntarily surrendered to authorities and traveled to The Hague to face charges. The Kosovo Assembly subsequently elected Bajram Kosumi (AAK) as Prime Minister; Kosumi's resignation in March 2006 led to his replacement by Agim Ceku.

President Rugova died of lung cancer on 21 January 2006 at age 61. Rugova's death came just days before United Nations-sponsored talks on Kosovo's future were to have opened. After President Rugova's death in January 2006, he was succeeded by Fatmir Sejdiu, who was elected President of the Republic of Kosovo with two-thirds of the votes of the deputies of the Assembly of Kosovo. Constitutional lawyer Fatmir Sejdiu was sworn in as the new President of Kosovo on February 10. Under pressure from the governing coalition of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi resigned on March 1, and was replaced by former Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) Commander Agim Ceku on March 10. Controversial Assembly President Nexhat Daci resigned on March 9, and was replaced by Kole Berisha on March 10. Berisha, a member of Kosovo's Catholic community, is a respected and low-key veteran of the LDK. On December 9, 2006 Fatmir Sejdiu was elected President of the Democratic League of Kosovo, a post which he exercised until 2010.

Belgrade opposed the selection of Ceku as Prime Minister based on his history as a wartime commander in Croatia and Kosovo and his subsequent indictment in Serbia on war crimes charges, those credentials were exactly what most observers believe will allow Ceku to make strong concessions to Kosovo Serbs without being questioned by Kosovo war veterans and other hard line nationalists. In his acceptance speech, Ceku addressed Kosovo Serbs in Serbian, a rare occurrence here, telling them that there is a place for them in Kosovo society and institutions. He urged them to fight for their rights together with all other citizens of Kosovo by taking part in government institutions and by participating in everyday life in Kosovo.





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