The 38-year-old reformist and lawyer Vjosa Osmani was approved as president by the country’s parliament in Pristina on Sunday with the backing of Prime Minister Albin Kurti and his Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) party.
Vjosa Osmani took over as acting president of Kosovo last November when her predecessor, Hashim Thaci, resigned ahead of his impending war crimes trial in the Netherlands.
Osmani’s initial mandate expired when the new government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti, the head of Vetevendosje, took over after the February 14 election.
The 120-seat parliament voted in favor of appointing Osmani president by 71 votes.
While the president’s duties are largely ceremonial, Osmani will now be the commander of the country’s armed forces and also serve as one of the country’s top diplomatic representatives.
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 war crimes committed during the 1998-99 war that ultimately led to Kosovo becoming independent in 2008.
“Peace would be achieved only when we see remorse and an apology from Serbia and when we see justice for those who have suffered from their crimes,” Osmani said.
Until last September, Osmani was a high-ranking official of the Democratic League of Kosovo party, which she quit to join forces with Kurti. She is not a member of the anti-establishment Vetevendosje but she ran on their list in the February elections.
She is married and has two daughters.