The people of Kosovo are today electing a new government with Hashim Thaci widely expected to gain the most votes. The 39-year old is a former guerilla leader who helped NATO forces oust Serbian troops in 1999. Yet the size of his lead in opinion polls suggests his party will not win enough votes to govern alone.
Tipped to share power with him is the Democratic League of Kosovo now led by Fatmir Sejdiu. The League has not recovered from the death early last year of its founder and former President Ibrahim Rugova. Whatever the result, the new government will almost certainly declare independence for the province, which has been run for the last eight years by the UN.
Talks between Serbia and Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leaders are due to end on December 10th, but with no deal in sight, any declaration of independence looks likely to be without the blessing of Belgrade.