Profile 02 Dec 08

Hashim Thaci 'From 'Snake' to Prime Minister

Thaci, born in 1968, joined the Albanian independence cause as a student, becoming one of the leaders of the protest movement in the early 1990s. As the Serbian crackdown intensified, he left for Switzerland, studying history and international relations in Zurich.

Returning to Kosovo as a senior figure in the guerrilla movement, the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, he received the nickname “The Snake” for his skill in evading the Serbian police. He took part in the abortive peace talks in Rambouillet in 1999 and after the war founded the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, the main faction to emerge from the ranks of the KLA.

Thaci is seen as a shrewd tactician, capable of skilled manoeuvring to achieve his goals, while keeping a tight hold on the reins of power. After the victory of the PDK in the parliamentary elections of November 17, 2007, Thaci was elected Kosovo’s Prime Minister.

On February 17, 2008, Thaci declared Kosovo an independent state in parliament.

During his three-year stint as Prime Minister, he has also led the country to membership of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

But Thaci has come under criticism more recently from local and international actors for his government’s failure to combat corruption and over allegations that he is trying to control the media.

Under pressure, he reshuffled his cabinet in early 2010, removing a number of junior and deputy ministers, while leaving the big beasts, including Minister of Transport Fatmir Limaj who is suspected of corruption, in place. His relationship with Limaj, another key figure in the PDK, is understood to be strained.

He has also been mocked in the media for his poor English and his gaffes. On a visit to the US in 2009, he was reported to have called the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, “Ms Albright”. He also claimed this year to have been mistaken for film star George Clooney.

His party, however, remains, according to all polls, the most popular in the country and he was reappointed as leader of the PDK, unopposed, in the run-up to the December 12 snap poll.

Subscribe to Balkan Insight Premium to read the full article.

Please login to your account below if you are already a Premium Subscriber.

Buy Premium Subscription

Our Premium Service gives you full access to all content published on BalkanInsight.com, including analyses, investigations, comments, interviews and more. Choose your subscription today and get unparalleled in-depth coverage of the Western Balkans.

Buy Premium Subscription

If you have trouble logging in or any other questions regarding you account, please contact us

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Serbia - Kosovo Relations: Latest Headlines

the-majority-in-serbia-unwilling-to-go-to-war-for-kosovo-02-14-2017 News 14 Feb 17 Most Serbians Unwilling to Fight for Kosovo: Survey

Three-quarters of Serbian citizens do not want to wage war to win Kosovo back, suggested a survey which also indicated that the majority support continued dialogue with Pristina.

kosovo-s-president-with-an-initiative-of-reconciliation-02-13-2017 news 13 Feb 17 Kosovo’s Thaci Announces Post-War Reconciliation Commission

President Hashim Thaci announced a new Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which he said was intended to encourage mutual forgiveness among Kosovo’s Albanians and Serbs.

mitrovica-bridge-still-dividing-instead-of-uniting-kosovo-02-12-2017 Interview 13 Feb 17 Mitrovica Bridge Still Dividing Instead of Uniting Kosovo

Kosovo, Serbian and international actors are going from one mistake to another as they try to resolve the issue of the infamous bridge in Mitrovica, Nexhmedin Spahiu says.

mayor-of-presevo-disapproving-territories-exchange-proposal-02-06-2017 interview 07 Feb 17 Presevo Mayor: Territorial Swap Would Destabilise Balkans

The mayor of Serbia's predominantly ethnic Albanian town of Presevo dismissed a US Congressman's idea of swapping mainly Albanian parts of southern Serbia for the Serb-populated part of northern Kosovo.

kosovo-serbs-already-got-used-to-belgrade-s-political-provocations-02-03-2017 news 03 Feb 17 Vucic Blames Kosovo, EU for Spike in Tensions

Serbia's Prime Minister said he had appealed to Kosovo Serb leaders to calm tensions in northern Kosovo, but locals say Belgrade holds a fair share in spike of strains.

government-unclear-on-its-plans-according-to-wall-in-north-kosovo-01-30-2017 news 31 Jan 17 Kosovo Hesitates to Demolish Serb Wall In North

Kosovo's government has yet to clarify its likely course towards the wall erected by the Serb authorities in the divided northern town of Mitrovica, despite a parliamentary resolution ordering its removal by the end of the month.

russian-experts-dismiss-putin-trump-deal-on-kosovo-01-25-2017 News 25 Jan 17 Russian Experts Dismiss Putin-Trump Kosovo Deal

Russian analysts have dismissed suggestions that Moscow might recognise Kosovo's independence as a wider deal with the US, saying Russia would never betray its ally Serbia.

kosovo-eyes-territory-measurement-amid-border-uncertainties-01-24-2017 news 25 Jan 17 Kosovo to Map Territory Amid Border Uncertainties

The Kosovo government is aiming to map the country’s territory precisely for the first time, nine years after declaring independence, following a political dispute over a border agreement with Montenegro.

the-presidents-of-serbia-and-kosovo-to-meet-in-brussels-01-23-2017 News 24 Jan 17 Kosovo, Serbia Presidents Meet to Ease Tensions

The two Presidents and Prime Ministers are to meet in Brussels after growing tensions put on hold the implementation of key Belgrade-Pristina agreements.

despite-the-boycott-the-import-from-serbia-increased-01-19-2017 Feature 23 Jan 17 Kosovo Shoppers Find it Hard to Shun Serbian Goods

The latest friction with Serbia over a train has revived calls in Kosovo for a boycott of Serbian products - but shops that do not stock Serbian goods remain few and far between.