Tuesday, January 31, 2006

LDK denies it has selected Rugova’s successor

For Balkan Update (BU) by Ferik. F.
Kosovo-Prishtina -Kosovo daily press comments today on the news that the largest party in Kosovo, LDK, has selected a candidate to replace Ibrahim Rugova as Kosovo President. The party spokesperson Lulzim Zeneli, however, has denied reports that the party has selected a successor at all. He told Kosovapress news agency that he knows nothing about this and warned the media not to report false information.

Some media have reported that this may have been an attempt by the more moderate faction of the party to install one of its own as the leader of the party. The apparent positive reaction from the International Institutions (Salona and the US Office in Prishtina have said he is a “good man”), could mean that Mr. Sejdiu is more likely to get that position now. Here is a reaction from the Kosovo media:

Koha Ditore says that Sejdiu, who is currently LDK Secretary General, will be the successor of late Ibrahim Rugova in the post of President if he manages to win the votes of members of the Kosovo Assembly. The paper also says that two members of the LDK chairmanship have confirmed the information on Sejdiu’s candidacy.

“Yes it is true but for this you need to contact spokesman Lulzim Zeneli ,” said a senior LDK official.

However, LDK spokesman Zeneli said that no decision on the candidate was not made yet. “For the time being, this is issue is not being discussed and it is not part of the debate at the LDK chairmanship. All details surrounding the decisions will be announced after the days of mourning in

Kosovo,” Zeneli was quoted as saying.

Sources from the LDK chairmanship told Koha Ditore that the LDK position is that the Kosovo President should replace Rugova at the helm of the Kosovo

Negotiations Team.

Express reports on the front page that Sejdiu has won the battle at the LDK chairmanship for the President of Kosovo. “The candidacy of the professor and politician, who is known as a calm man, will enter a dangerous vote at the

Assembly on 9th February,” the paper adds.

Epoka e Re in its leading front-page article asks Where would Fatmir Sejdiu get 61 votes? Apparently the paper thinks that Sajdiu will not be approved in the parliament.

According to Lajm, Sejdiu is an acceptable candidate for the international liaison offices in Pristina, for UNMIK and even for the opposition. The paper quotes unnamed sources as saying that Nexhat Daci’s candidacy for president fell in Dragodan at the US Office, “because Daci is considered a non-cooperative person with the opposition and the Negotiations Team.”

The daily press at the same time carries the first reactions by international officials on Sejdiu’s candidacy. After a meeting with Local Government Minister Lutfi Haziri, the US Head of Office Philip Goldberg was quoted as saying, “I don’t know if there was an official announcement on this issue and we have discussed with Mr. Haziri the issue of decentralisation. But regarding this question I can say that Mr. Sejdiu is a good man, but I cannot say more until the decision hasn’t been confirmed,” Goldberg said according to Zëri.

Koha Ditore and Express quote Goldberg as saying, “What I thought by a consensual president is someone who has broad support. I believe that a man like

Sejdiu would have broad support.”

Zëri reports that EU High Representative Javier Solana has welcomed the news that Fatmir Sejdiu is candidate for the President of Kosovo. “I am aware that the election of the successor to the Kosovo President was difficult, but we also expect the appointment of the head of the negotiations team in order to continue work in the process of negotiations. We welcome the fact that the name of the person for the Kosovo President was selected in such a short while, as I know that it was very difficult to find a replacement for President Ibrahim Rugova,” Solana was quoted as saying in the media.

Ferik.F.

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