Kosovo court insists Pacolli no longer President

Behgjet Pacolli said he would not resign despite the court`s ruling.

Pristina: Kosovo`s constitutional court said on Friday that Behgjet Pacolli was no longer serving as President despite his insistence that he would not step down after his election was ruled unconstitutional.

In a statement, the court said the Speaker of Parliament, Jakup Krasniqi, was already serving as acting president under Kosovo`s Constitution.

"Kosovo has an acting president as of March 31, 2011," the court said in a statement on its website.

"Thus, there is no institutional vacuum since the date of the publication of the judgment," the court said.

Pacolli said on Thursday that he would not resign despite the court`s ruling on Monday, which plunged the former breakaway Serbian province into another political crisis.

The judges on Monday ruled that at least two-thirds of deputies in the 120-seat Parliament had to be present for the February vote that saw Pacolli elected president, which was boycotted by the opposition. There also should have been more than one candidate, the court said.

Denouncing Prime Minister Hashim Thaci for pressuring the Parliament into voting in Pacolli at the time, the opposition walked out before the vote and Pacolli, the only candidate, won with a slight majority of 62 votes after three rounds of voting.

As the governing coalition composed of Thaci`s Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and Pacolli`s New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) does not have the required two-third majority to elect a President, the opposition`s participation is crucial to elect a candidate to the presidency.

Thaci on Friday warned the opposition that the country would face the second snap elections in four months if they continued to boycott election of the President.

"The opposition has to take part" in the work of the Parliament, he said.

"If the opposition continues to exercise the boycott, then they (will) unavoidably lead the country towards snap elections within 45 days," Thaci said.

Kosovo has been in political turmoil since last September when the previous president, Fatmir Sejdiu, suddenly resigned after the court ruled he had violated the Constitution by occupying the presidency and heading a political party at the same time.

The resignation led to the fall of the government and early elections in December, marred by a number of irregularities.

Bureau Report

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