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Key facts:

Official Name:

Republic of Kosovo

Independence:

Independence was declared by the Parliament ofKosovo on 17 February 2008

Population:

2,180,686 (estimate in 2010; no census since 1991. Source: national Statistical Office)

Capital:

Pristina (about 500,000. source: OSCE Mission in Kosovo)

Other important cities:

Prizren, Peja/Pec, Mitrovica

Area:

10,908 km2

Main religions:

Islam, Serb Orthodox, Catholicism

Languages:

Albanian, Serbian, Turkish, Romani

Main ethnic groups (estimates)

Albanians 92 percent, Serb 5,3 percent, others 2,7% (Turks, Bosniaks, Roma, Ashkali, Egyptians, Gorani)

Currency:

Euro

President:

Fatmir Sejdiu, since May 2006

Prime minister:

Hashim Thaci, since January 2008

EU relations

Kosovo has no contractual relations with the European Union. In fact, until May 2008 only 18 out of 27 EU member states have recognised Kosovo independence.
Following its declaration of independence Kosovo committed itself to the so-called “Ahtisaari Plan” (or: Comprehensive Proposal for a Final Status Settlement), which foresees international supervision by an International Civilian Office.  The head of this office, which is the supreme authority in Kosovo, is also a European Union Special Representative. In addition the EU has deployed a large mission called EULEX.  It focuses on policing, judiciary and customs. It also has executive powers, suggesting that Kosovo is becoming a type of European protectorate.

International organizations:

Kosovo is member of the World Bank and of the International Monetary Fund since June 2009.

Political parties:  

Following the most recent elections in 2007 the following parties sit in the 120-seat Parliament.
PDK (Democratic Party of Kosovo).  PDK is the party of current Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.  It has 37 seats in parliament and governs in coalition with the LDK.  PDK was set up by the founders of the Kosovo Liberation Army.
LDK (Democratic League of Kosovo). It is currently headed by Fatmir Sejdiu, the President of Kosovo, and has 25 seats in parliament. LDK was founded in the early 1990s after Serbia had abolished Kosovo's previous autonomy. It was from the outset led by former writer Ibrahim Rugova. The party remained committed to peaceful resistance against the Serbian state. In the 1990s it ran a parallel education system and health care. After the war it won all elections until 2007, and Ibrahim Rugova became Kosovo's President. After he died in in January 2006, the party split. 
AKR (Kosovo New Alliance). The party has 13 seats. AKR was only recently created by a wealthy Albanian businessman based in Switzerland, Bexhet Pacolli. He owes much of his wealth to construction, including public contracts in the Russia of Boris Yeltsin.
LDD (Democratic League of Dardania). The party has 11 seats in parliament. LDD is a new party led by the former Speaker of the Parliament (and senior LDK figure) Nexhat Daci.
AAK (Alliance for the Future of Kosova). AAK has 10 seats in parliament AAK was founded by Ramush Haradinaj, a former KLA commander. The party's stronghold is Western Kosovo, the area surrounding Peja, Decan and Gjakova.  This was the area of activity of Haradinaj during the 1999 war.  Following the 2005 elections, and although it only won 9 seats in parliament, Ramush Haradinaj became Prime Minister in a coalition with LDK. During his first 100 days in office, he was indicted by the Hague Tribunal on 17 counts, including murder and rape. Haradinaj went to stand trail and returned to Kosovo after his acquittal on 3 April 2008.

According to the Constitution 100 mandates are distributed among those parties that manage to pass the 5 percent threshold. For minority parties there is no threshold. 20 mandates are distributed among the parties representing minorities independent of the real voter turnout. Of those, Serb parties receive 10 seats in parliament, 10 go to the other minorities according to a fixed key: 4 mandates go to Roma, Egyptians and Ashkalli (2 seats), Bosniaks receive 3 mandates, Turks 2 and Gorani 2 mandates. During the elections of 2007 the minority parties, nevertheless, received 5.4 percent of all real votes and thus gained 4 mandates: 2 went to Bosniaks, 1 to Turks and 1 to an Ashkalli party.

Another key fact: electricity problems make generators omnipresent in Kosovo
Another key fact: electricity problems make generators omnipresent in Kosovo

May 2008

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