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Hashim Thaçi


Incumbent
Assumed office 
9 January 2008
President Fatmir Sejdiu
Deputy Hajredin Kuçi
Ramë Manaj
Preceded by Agim Çeku
In office
2 April 1999 – 1 February 2000
President Ibrahim Rugova
Nexhat Daci (Acting)
Preceded by Bujar Bukoshi
Succeeded by Nexhat Daci (Acting)

Born 24 April 1968 (1968-04-24) (age 41)
Srbica, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Lumnije Thaçi

Hashim Thaçi [a](About this sound listen , born 24 April 1968) is the Prime Minister of Kosovo,[b] the Leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), and former political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

Contents

Early life and education

Thaçi was born in Srbica, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia. He studied philosophy and history at the University of Pristina. During his university years, he was an Albanian student leader and the first student president of the parallel Albanian University of Pristina that broke off in 1989 (and organized in the early 1990s) from the official University due to Kosovar Albanians' protest of Slobodan Milošević's new imposed status of the province of Kosovo.

By 1993, Thaçi joined the Albanian political émigré group in Switzerland, where he also pursued postgraduate studies at the University of Zurich in the departments of history and international relations. There he became one of the founders of the People's Movement of Kosovo (LPK), a Marxist-Leninist[1][2] political party devoted to Albanian popular nationalism.

Role in KLA

In 1993, Thaçi became a member of the inner circle of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Thaçi (nom de guerre "Gjarpëri" [The Snake]) was responsible for securing financial means and armaments, and training recruits in Albania to be dispatched to Kosovo. In 1997, Thaçi was tried in absentia and convicted by the Serbian authorities in Pristina for acts of terrorism associated with his activities in the KLA.[3] In March 1999, Thaçi participated in the Rambouillet negotiations as the leader of the Kosovar Albanian team.[4] Thaçi was perceived by western diplomats during the negotiations as the "voice of reason" within the KLA: his attendance at the negotiations demonstrated a willingness to accept autonomy for Kosovo within Serbia at a time when other rebel leaders rejected any solution short of full national independence.[4] Thaçi emerged from the final diplomatic settlement as the leader of the strongest faction within a KLA rife with factionalism. He moved quickly to consolidate power, unilaterally naming himself prime minister within a provisional government and allegedly ordering the assassination of the leaders of rival armed factions.[5][6]

Alleged Criminal Activities

Thaçi is alleged to have extensive criminal links. During the period of time when Thaçi was head of the Kosovo Liberation Army, it was reported by the Washington Times to be financing its activities by trafficking heroin and cocaine into western Europe.[7] KLA supporters, however, insist that in reality KLA received its financing from Albanian diaspora in USA, Albanian,UK and USA governments.

Thaçi in particular is seen as being central to the criminal activities of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), who reportedly extorted money from businessmen under the guise of "taxes" for Thaçi's self appointed government.[8] While the KLA was officially disbanded at the end of armed conflict in Kosovo in 1999, the new Kosovo Protection Corps was composed primarily of former KLA fighters and the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) was formed largely from the political leadership of the KLA. A near monopoly on the means of force, based on the absorption of the KLA into the KPC allowed the Democratic Party of Kosovo to seize control of the machinery of government at the municipal level.[9] The Democratic Party of Kosovo has regularly employed violence and intimidation of political rivals to maintain local political control and protect criminal enterprises which depend upon cooperation from friendly local authorities.[10]

The fact that the Democratic Party of Kosovo was seen as both corrupt and criminal lead directly to the electoral defeat of the DPK in the first free elections in the province in 2001. The BBC stated at the time, "The tumbling reputation of the former KLA was to have a disastrous effect on the PDK because of the perceived overlap between its political leadership and post-KLA organised crime."[11]

A recent analysis of organized crime in Kosovo prepared by German intelligence service BND and a confidential report contracted by the German military, the Bundeswehr accuse Thaçi, as well as Ramush Haradinaj and the majority Kosovo parliament faction Xhavit Haliti of far-reaching involvement in organized crime. The BND writes: “The key players (including Haliti, Haradinaj, and Thaçi) are intimately involved in inter-linkages between politics, business, and organized crime structures in Kosovo.” The report accuses Thaçi of leading a “criminal network operating throughout Kosovo.” in the end of the 1990s. The BND report also accuses Thaçi of contacts with the Czech and Albanian mafias. In addition, it accuses him, together with Haliti, of ordering killings by an professional hit man ‘Afrimi’, who is allegedly responsible for at least 11 contract murders.[12]

Victory in 2007 election and declaration of Kosovar independence

Kosovo elections were held on 17 November 2007. After early results based on 90 per cent of the votes, Hashim Thaçi who was on course to gain 34 per cent, claimed victory for PDK, the Democratic Party of Kosovo. He stated his intention to declare independence without delay on 10 December, the date set by the United Nations for the end of negotiations with Serbia. At 45 percent, the turnout at the election was particularly low with most Serbs refusing to vote.[13]

However, on 19 November 2007, several EU foreign ministers warned Thaçi and his allies not to go ahead with their declaration of independence without consultations. Luxembourg's Jean Asselborn and Sweden's Carl Bildt urged the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) not to make any hasty moves while EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana stressed the importance of proper preparations prior to formal independence. After EU talks on Kosovo in London on 19 November 2007, the UK's Europe minister, Jim Murphy, said independence without foreign support could isolate the breakaway province.[14]

Hashim Thaçi was designated as the next leader of Kosovo's government on 11 December 2007 by Kosovar President Fatmir Sejdiu and told to form a government "as soon as possible". His Democratic Party of Kosovo began coalition talks with the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) as well as the Alliance for New Kosovo. Those parties together control 75 seats of 120 in the assembly.[15] On 9 January 2008, Thaçi was elected as Prime Minister by parliament, with 85 votes in favor and 22 against. On this occasion he stated his intention to achieve independence for Kosovo in the first half of 2008.[16] On 16 February 2008, Thaçi announced that the next day, 17 February, would be key for "implementing the will of the citizens of Kosovo", strongly implying the province would declare independence from Serbia.[17] On 17 February 2008, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. Thaçi became Prime Minister of the newly independent state.

On 6 June 2008, gunmen failed in an attempt to assassinate Thaçi at his home in Pristina. [18]

Notes and references

Notes:

a.   ^ Albanian: Hashim Thaçi. Serbo-Croatian: Hašim Tači, Хашим Тачи.
b.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo. The Assembly of Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence on 17 February 2008, a move that is recognised by 65 of the 192 UN member states and the Republic of China (Taiwan), but not by other UN member states. Serbia claims it as part of its own sovereign territory.

References:

  1. ^ Kosovo: Background to crisis, Jane's (March 1999)
  2. ^ Mark Almond, Our Gang - Kosovo Liberation Army, National Review, 26 July 1999.
  3. ^ Hashim Thaci or When the Little Red-Cap’s Wolf is Tamed
  4. ^ a b Ethnic Albanian Guerrillas Will Attend Talks on Kosovo - New York Times
  5. ^ CRISIS IN THE BALKANS: THE GUERRILLAS; Kosovo Rebel Force Will Be Serbian Province's New Power Broker - New York Times
  6. ^ CRISIS IN THE BALKANS: THE SEPARATISTS; Leaders of Kosovo Rebels Tied to Deadly Power Play - New York Times
  7. ^ "KLA finances fight with heroin sales Terror group is linked to crime network"; Jerry Seper. Washington Times. Washington, D.C.: May 3, 1999. pg. A.1
  8. ^ BBC News | EUROPE | Kosovo gripped by racketeers
  9. ^ BBC News | EUROPE | Kosovo gripped by racketeers
  10. ^ Political violence in run-up to Kosovo vote | csmonitor.com
  11. ^ BBC News | EUROPE | Analysis: Kosovo chooses normality
  12. ^ German spy affair might have been revenge, Welt Online, 30 November 2008
  13. ^ "Low turnout hits Kosovo election". euronews. 2007-11-18. http://www.euronews.net/2007/11/18/low-turnout-hits-kosovo-election. Retrieved 2009-09-17.  
  14. ^ "EU warns Kosovo on independence". BBC News. 2007-11-19. http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/europe/7101366.stm. Retrieved 2009-09-17.  
  15. ^ "Thaci designated to head Kosovo government". Deutsche Presse-Agentur (Monsters and Critics). 2007-12-11. http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/printer_1380249.php. Retrieved 2007-12-11.  
  16. ^ "Ex-rebel becomes Kosovo’s prime minister". Associated Press (MSNBC). 2008-01-09. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22575375/displaymode/1098. Retrieved 2009-09-17.  
  17. ^ "Kosovo MPs proclaim independence". BBC News. 2008-02-17. http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/europe/7249034.stm. Retrieved 2009-09-17.  
  18. ^ "Armed attack at Kosovo PM's home". BBC News. 2008-06-07. http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/europe/7441584.stm. Retrieved 2009-09-17.  

External links

See also

Political offices
Preceded by
Agim Çeku
Prime Minister of Kosovo
2008 – present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Bujar Bukoshi
Prime Minister of Kosovo
1999 – 2000
Succeeded by
Nexhat Daci
Acting
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bajram Rexhepi
President of Democratic Party of Kosovo
2004 – present
Incumbent
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