Kosovo's president 'to run again for office'
Aide says Behgjet Pacolli, who quit after constitutional court ruled his election was illegal, is to seek re-election.
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2011 19:09
Opposition parties have strongly opposed Pacolli's candidacy because of his history of business ties to Russia [Reuters]

Kosovo's president Behgjet Pacolli, who resigned on after the territory's constitutional court ruled his election by parliament a month ago was not constitutional, is to run again for the office, an aide has said.

Wednesday's resignation of Pacolli, who was elected to the largely ceremonial job in a power-sharing deal with Hashim Thaci, the prime minister, may force early parliamentary elections unless ruling and opposition parties co-operate to end the deadlock.

Thaci's PDK and Pacolli's AKR parties voted for Pacolli in parliament but a boycott by opposition parties meant his election lacked a quorum of at least 80 members in the 120-seat parliament.

Pacolli's own road to the presidency was opened after the court ruled Fatmir Sejdiu, his predecessor, had broken the law by serving as a party leader and the president at the same time, paving the way for early parliamentary elections last December.

"The president of the Republic of Kosovo Behgjet Pacolli is ready to respect the decision [of the constitutional court]," Ibrahim Gashi, Pacolli's top aide, said on Wednesday.

"Pacolli will be the candidate of the coalition partners in the new election of a new president because he did not violate the constitution," Gashi said.

The new political crisis will further complicate technical talks with Serbia which Kosovo split from three years ago, and delay the sale of state-owned companies.

Opposition parties have strongly opposed Pacolli's candidacy because of his history of business ties to Russia, the main opponent of Kosovo's independence.

"This is another crisis and if we have new elections the crisis will be huge and Kosovo is already lagging behind," said Ardian Arifaj, an analyst from Kosovo's Foreign Policy Club, a foreign affairs think-tank.
Political instability and high levels of crime and corruption in Kosovo have kept foreign investors away from the impoverished and landlocked country, which has an unemployment rate of 48 per cent.

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