Kosovo names key ministers
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia -- Veteran pacifist Ibrahim Rugova has been appointed president of Kosovo as the province moves towards self-rule.
Rugova won elections in the United Nation's protectorate last November but a decision on the make-up of Kosovo's mainly ethnic Albanian parliament was delayed amid political wrangling.
Rugova's appointment was passed by 88-3 on Monday after a power sharing deal was agreed last week.
The chamber also approved Bajram Rexhepi of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) as prime minister. The PDK has its roots in the ethnic Albanian rebel movement which fought Serb rule.
The U.N. began its protectorate's role after NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 and the end of the war.
The U.N. retains overall control and responsibility for key areas such as security but substantial powers are devolved to Kosovo's new institutions.
The institutions, which have authority over issues ranging from the economy to health care, face a formidable task. Kosovo is one of the most underdeveloped parts of Europe and it is plagued by violence, often ethnically motivated.
The power-sharing agreement struck between the parties last week obliges the cabinet to promote tolerance towards minorities and take quick steps to improve schooling and public health, protect the poor and create jobs.
Kosovo's final status remains to be determined. Ethnic Albanians overwhelmingly want independence, while the province's Serb minority insist Kosovo should be reintegrated into Yugoslavia and Serbia, its dominant republic.
Rugova's party came first in the general election last November 17 but did not win enough seats to govern alone.
The terms of the power-sharing deal give his Democratic League of Kosovo four ministers in the new government. The PDK and the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, another party with links to the rebel movement, get two cabinet posts each.
One ministerial post is reserved for a Serb minister and another for a member of Kosovo's other minorities.
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