kospsppspsKosovo’s MPs have elected Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci as president, at the end of a day marred by protests.

He won the required simple majority in the third round, after the inconclusive first two stages of voting in Pristina.

Some opposition lawmakers were earlier banned from voting after they released tear gas in the parliament building.

Mr Thaci, 47, was a guerrilla leader during a conflict that led to Kosovo – a mainly ethnic Albanian province – declaring independence from Serbia.

KOSOVO-SERBIA-POLITICS-PROTEST“I pledge to build a new Kosovo, a European Kosovo and to deepen our relationship with the US,” he said after Friday’s vote.

Mr Thaci – who had also served as prime minister – fell out with many opposition groups after helping to negotiate with Serbia a deal that gave more autonomy to Kosovo’s minority Serbs.

Serbia – and many other countries around the world – does not recognise Kosovo’s self-declared independence in 2008.

Mr Thaci succeeds Atifete Jahjaga as head of state.

Kosovo: At a glance

  • Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. It has been recognised by the US and many EU countries
  • Kosovo and Serbia reached a landmark agreement to normalise their relations in April 2013
  • The EU subsequently gave the green light for talks on an association agreement with Kosovo to begin
  • Nato peacekeepers have been in Kosovo since 1999