Will Kosovo's first female president overcome party politics and implement needed improvements?
By Muhamet Brajshori for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 06/05/11
Newly elected Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga shakes hands with members of parliament after taking the oath on April 7th. [Reuters]
Jahjaga, the country's first female head of state, was a compromise candidate in a US-brokered deal between the leaders of the government, the opposition and Behgjet Pacolli, whose February win was declared unconstitutional.
The deal calls for Jahjaga to remain in the post for six months before legal and electoral reforms pave the way for electing a president through a direct vote.
"She has now the most difficult job -- that of balancing the needs and wishes of the people with the political elite's requirements to serve it. Electing an independent to the most senior position brings hope to those who do not want to see abuse of power," wrote Arben Idrizi, summing up the general view.
Unfortunately, he added, she will likely be forced "to work according to the will of the political parties", thus hindering her ability to promote good governance.
Hajdari, meanwhile, thinks the game is already rigged. "The Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) has always had a mission to keep the position of the president for itself, but now they have agreed for to weaken the office to make it more easily manipulated by the political parties," he alleges.
Justin is more optimistic. Jahjaga, he writes, has already proved her capabilities as deputy police director and the new approach she brings to the presidency will help her fulfil her responsibilities successfully.
"Kosovo needs a female president. A woman as head of state is not often seen in the world, but the more women are included in government, the more success we will have," he writes.
Remzi thinks she may turn out to be more effective than her male counterparts. "We have two [female] deputy prime ministers -- one is negotiating with Serbia -- and now the president is a woman. That gives us hope that a woman will do the job better than our male leaders did," he suggests.