Thursday, December 22, 2005

Kosovo opposition leader Thaci promotes Rexhepi as presidential candidate

Mitrovice [Kosovska Mitrovica], 18 December: Bajram Rexhepi [former prime minister] may become Kosova [Kosovo] president if the majority of Kosovars vote for the Democratic Party of Kosova [PDK] at the next general election, provided that Hashim Thaci does not change his mind in the meantime.

PDK leader Thaci promised that the former prime minister could occupy Ibrahim Rugova's current office, addressing party members in Mitrovice, the home town of Rexhepi, who is now a PDK deputy in the Kosova Assembly.

"You elected a prime minister in the previous election, so with a PDK victory you will have a president from Mitrovice," Thaci said on Saturday [ 17 December], speaking to local PDK leaders and activists on the sixth anniversary of the party's branch.

The leader of the largest opposition party and member of the Kosova status negotiating team also promised that the issue of the divided town of Mitrovice would be resolved together with the resolution of the country's status and that "the northern part will be part of an independent Kosova".

Thaci's message to his party activists in Mitrovice and the citizens of this part of Kosova was that they should not worry too much about the various options for Kosova's status, such as, "conditional independence" and "future status," but use the "comforting argument" that "there is full unity in the negotiating team and in cooperation with international bodies we will reach Kosova's full independence".

Speaking just a few meters away from the bridge that divides the town of Mitrovice, Thaci said that he supported decentralization, but not the kind of decentralization based on ethnic grounds, because, as he put it, "this represents a threat to Kosova's internal territorial division".

Rexhepi, the man selected to become Kosova's president in the event of a PDK victory, said that he was certain that, "in cooperation with the international community, there will not be a division of either Mitrovice or Kosova." To support his claims, he cited the Contact Group principles.

During the celebration of the sixth anniversary of the PDK's Mitrovice branch, branch chairman Ahmet Tmava said that the PDK, the main opposition party in Mitrovice, had all the potential "to become a promoter of the strategy of development and unification of Mitrovice and not make Mitrovice an object of scenarios that produce fog".

Source: Koha Ditore, Pristina, in Albanian 19 Dec 05


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