The 120-seat parliament gave Osmani 71 votes amid an opposition boycott, making her Kosovo’s second female president.
Kosovo politicians elected and sworn in on Sunday a new president for a five-year term, the seventh president of the Balkan nation and the second female leader, in the post-war years.
The 120-seat parliament, which met in extraordinary session for two days, gave 71 votes for Vjosa Osmani, a 38-year-old former speaker of parliament, in the third ballot, while 11 votes were invalid.
Two opposition parties and the Serbian ethnic minority party boycotted the vote.
In November, Osmani temporarily replaced former President Hashim Thaci, an armed group leader during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia in the late 1990s, who resigned after facing war crimes charges and crimes against humanity before a special tribunal based in The Hague.
Osmani’s original term expired when Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s new government, the Left Self-Determination Movement, or Vetevendosje, took over after the February 14 elections.
Osmani had the support of Vetevendosje, who won the early elections in a landslide.
The party now occupies the three main positions: the president, the president and the prime minister.
As president, Osmani will largely have a ceremonial post as head of state. But she also has a leading position in foreign policy and is the commander of the armed forces.
In a speech, Osmani called for a dialogue aimed at normalizing ties with Serbia, but said Belgrade must first apologize and prosecute those responsible for the war crimes committed during the 1998-99 war which ultimately ended. led to the independence of Kosovo in 2008.
“Peace will only be achieved when we see remorse and apologies from Serbia and when we see justice for those who have suffered from their crimes,” Osmani said.
Kosovo is recognized by over 100 countries but not by Serbia or Serbian allies like Russia and China.
Local media described Osmani as “fearless” as she was among the first to speak boldly about the corrupt ruling elite – not easy given the respect they have earned through their war roles.
“Osmani has captured the hearts of many citizens of Kosovo as she is charismatic, confident and a role model for 21st century women,” the president recently described in a legal journal.
However, her detractors say she lacks experience.
“Those who have pledged allegiance to Vetevendosje have nothing to offer but criticism” and “a fundamental lack of the knowledge necessary to govern,” said former leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Isa Mustafa, who resigned due to his poor party election result.
But Osmani’s supporters are confident that she will succeed in implementing much-needed reforms.
Born in the divided city of Mitrovica, Osmani studied at the University of Pristina, taught there from 2006 and went on to earn a doctorate in the United States.
She entered politics as an advisor to then-president Fatmir Sejdiu of the center-right LDK.
An expert in international law, Osmani was first elected to parliament in 2011 with the LDK and was the party’s candidate for prime minister in the 2019 parliamentary elections.
But she left the LDK as it entered a coalition with ethnic Albanian ex-combatants united in the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK).
Osmani is married and has twin daughters.