Pristina: Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim
Thaci, re-elected for a second mandate, has been a key figure
in Kosovo politics over the last decade.
In December elections, the first since Kosovo declared
independence from Serbia, Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo
(PDK) won most of the votes while falling short of an outright
But Thaci managed to secure some unlikely partners, as
well as support from minority Serb parties, to ensure his
re-election, despite a series of affairs that have
overshadowed his position both at home and abroad.
Thaci, who has been at the centre of power in Kosovo
since he began his career as the leader of the political wing
of the Kosovo Liberation Amy (KLA), has seen his popularity
Many in Kosovo blame Thaci and his cabinet for
widespread corruption. In April a delegation from the European
Union on a mission to help Kosovo install an independent legal
system raided the transport ministry, which was headed by a
close Thaci ally.
But the biggest blow came just days after the December
vote when Thaci and a number of his officials were linked to
organised crime and organ trafficking in a report by the
Council of Europe.
Thaci has strongly denied the claims, which date back
to the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo, when he was among the KLA
leaders who fought Serbian security forces.
The report said the KLA had special detention camps
where Serbs and others accused of collaborating with Belgrade
were held. Some of the prisoners, mainly Serbs, were allegedly
killed and their organs harvested to sell on the black market.
But these grim charges have not tarnished Thaci's
image among the electorate, who still see him as the only true
Kosovo statesman able to deal with international institutions
and lead Pristina to EU and NATO membership.
First Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 11:40