Atifete Jahjaga

President of Kosovo

(The Economist, Deutsche Welle - 08/04/11; AFP, DPA, CNN - 07/04/11; Official Website of the President of Kosovo)
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Atifete Jahjaga[Getty Images]

Atifete Jahjaga assumed office as president of Kosovo on April 7th 2011, following a deal between the country's ruling coalition and the main opposition. She replaced Behgjet Pacolli, whose appointment was annulled on February 22nd by the constitutional court about five weeks later, sparking a political crisis.

A high-ranking police officer with no affiliation to any of the country's political parties, Jahjaga was named the new presidential candidate the day before she was elected to the post by Kosovo's 120-seat parliament with the backing of 80 of the 100 lawmakers attending the session.

Born on April 20th 1975 in Kosovo's western town of Gjakova, Jahjaga graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Pristina in 2000. She obtained a postgraduate certificate in police management and criminal justice from the University of Leicester, in the UK, in 2007.

That same year, she attended a postgraduate certification programme in criminal science at the University of Virginia, in the US. Jahjaga also attended professional and research programmes at the George C Marshall European Centre for Security Studies in Germany, the National Academy of the FBI and the US Department of Justice.

At the time of her election, she was continuing her studies for a Master's degree in international relations at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pristina.

Jahjaga has been serving with the Kosovo police ever since its establishment in 2000. Starting as a policewoman initially, she filled various positions with growing responsibility over the years until February 2009, when she was appointed deputy general director of the Kosovo police.

She was still serving in that post when she was nominated as Pacolli's successor on April 6th, as a candidate of the main opposition party, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).

Addressing parliament right after she was sworn in as president on April 7th, Jahjaga vowed to focus her efforts on the achievement of Kosovo's EU accession goal and a better future for her country.

"The ideal of all Kosovo is membership in the EU and a permanent friendship with the United States. I believe and am convinced our dreams will come true," she said.

Jahjaga speaks English and Serbian.

She is married and lives in Pristina.

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