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Rugova falls short for presidency

Rugova could still win in second or third round, which requires a simple majority  

PRISTINA, Kosovo -- Veteran ethnic Albanian politician Ibrahim Rugova has failed to win enough support in a first round of voting in Kosovo's new legislature to become president.

Rugova, whose Democratic League of Kosovo party won the November 17 parliamentary election but still needs outside support for him to become president, was the only candidate.

He needed a two-thirds majority, or 81 votes, in the first or second round of voting in the 120-seat assembly.

But he received the support of only 49 deputies in the first ballot, speaker Nexhat Daci announced.

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The rules change in a possible third round so that a simple majority is required in the assembly, set up to give Kosovo autonomy under a U.N. umbrella. The assembly session ended after the voting and it was not clear when it would meet again.

Kosovo was placed under U.N.-led administration in June 1999 after 11 weeks of NATO air strikes aimed at ending repression of the province's ethnic Albanians directed from Belgrade under former president Slobodan Milosevic.

In the election four weeks ago Rugova's Democratic League of Kosovo recorded 45.65 percent of the vote.

The party, identified with a non-violent campaign for independence, beat the former rebel leader Hashim Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo, which gained 25.70 percent.

A coalition of parties representing Kosovo's minority Serbs finished third with 11.34 percent, and the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, another ethnic Albanian party, followed with 7.83 percent.


• Serbs urged to vote
November 15, 2001
• Presidential battle in Kosovo
November 16, 2001

• Kosovo information page

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