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Kosova: Parliament Elects President, Prime Minister

Prishtina, 4 March 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Kosova lawmakers this morning elected a new political leadership, approving a president and a prime minister less than a week after ethnic Albanian political parties agreed to share power in the UN protectorate. Ibrahim Rugova, the head of the Democratic League of Kosova, was voted in as president.

Bajram Rexhepi, a surgeon educated in Zagreb and a member of Hashim Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosova, will be prime minister atop a 10-member cabinet. His party is the second-largest in the assembly.

One ministerial post is reserved for a Serb minister and another for a representative from among Kosova's other minorities.

Kosova's main ethnic Albanian parties agreed in late February to share power. The agreement was reached after months of wrangling following elections in November.

Appointing a government is seen by the Kosova Albanians as the first move toward self-rule.

Kosova has been a UN protectorate since the end of NATO's 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, which aimed to end Serb repression of Kosova's ethnic Albanian majority.