10 Dec 10

Behgjet Pacolli, leader of the New Kosovo Alliance party

Kosovo-born, Swiss-based construction millionaire Pacolli entered the world of Kosovo politics in 2006, after almost three decades away building an empire said to make him the world’s richest ethnic Albanian.

Having studied in Germany in the 1970s, later moving to Switzerland, he owns the international construction company Mabetex which operates in Italy and several ex-Soviet countries.

He is even said to ‘have renovated the Kremlin’ due to his close business ties with Moscow and helped build the new capital of Kazakhstan.

Mabetex is also a major player in Kosovo construction, carrying out a 15million euro project on a government building and the renovation of one of Prishtina’s most famous hotels, the Illyrian.

His party came third in the 2007 election on a heavily technocratic programme, promising transparency, investment and jobs.

Since then, Pacolli, 59, has acted as a defacto foreign minister, traveling the world in an attempt to secure recognitions for Kosovo.

His successes, including recognitions from the Maldives and other islands states, have also led him into conflict with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He has made no secret of his desire to become president of the country, a role he may be granted under a coalition with the PDK. 

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