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Kosovo vs. Albania

Government

KosovoAlbania
Country name
conventional long form: Republic of Kosovo
conventional short form: Kosovo
local long form: Republika e Kosoves (Republika Kosovo)
local short form: Kosove (Kosovo)
etymology: name derives from the Serbian "kos" meaning "blackbird," an ellipsis (linguistic omission) for "kosove polje" or "field of the blackbirds"
conventional long form: Republic of Albania
conventional short form: Albania
local long form: Republika e Shqiperise
local short form: Shqiperia
former: People's Socialist Republic of Albania
etymology: the English-language country name seems to be derived from the ancient Illyrian tribe of the Albani; the native name "Shqiperia" is derived from the Albanian word "Shqiponje" ("Eagle") and is popularly interpreted to mean "Land of the Eagles"
Government type
parliamentary republic
parliamentary republic
Capital
name: Pristina (Prishtine, Prishtina)
geographic coordinates: 42 40 N, 21 10 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
etymology: the name may derive from a Proto-Slavic word reconstructed as "pryshchina," meaning "spring (of water)"
name: Tirana (Tirane)
geographic coordinates: 41 19 N, 19 49 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
etymology: the name Tirana first appears in a 1418 Venetian document; the origin of the name is unclear, but may derive from Tirkan Fortress, whose ruins survive on the slopes of Dajti mountain and which overlooks the city
Administrative divisions
38 municipalities (komunat, singular - komuna (Albanian); opstine, singular - opstina (Serbian)); Decan (Decani), Dragash (Dragas), Ferizaj (Urosevac), Fushe Kosove (Kosovo Polje), Gjakove (Dakovica), Gjilan (Gnjilane), Gllogovc (Glogovac), Gracanice (Gracanica), Hani i Elezit (Deneral Jankovic), Istog (Istok), Junik, Kacanik, Kamenice (Kamenica), Kline (Klina), Kllokot (Klokot), Leposaviq (Leposavic), Lipjan (Lipljan), Malisheve (Malisevo), Mamushe (Mamusa), Mitrovice e Jugut (Juzna Mitrovica) [South Mitrovica], Mitrovice e Veriut (Severna Mitrovica) [North Mitrovica], Novoberde (Novo Brdo), Obiliq (Obilic), Partesh (Partes), Peje (Pec), Podujeve (Podujevo), Prishtine (Pristina), Prizren, Rahovec (Orahovac), Ranillug (Ranilug), Shterpce (Strpce), Shtime (Stimlje), Skenderaj (Srbica), Suhareke (Suva Reka), Viti (Vitina), Vushtrri (Vucitrn), Zubin Potok, Zvecan
12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Berat, Diber, Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Korce, Kukes, Lezhe, Shkoder, Tirane, Vlore
Independence
17 February 2008 (from Serbia)
28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)
National holiday
Independence Day, 17 February (2008)
Independence Day, 28 November (1912), also known as Flag Day
Constitution
history: previous 1974, 1990; latest (postindependence) draft finalized 2 April 2008, signed 7 April 2008, ratified 9 April 2008, entered into force 15 June 2008; note - amendment 24, passed by the Assembly in August 2015, established the Kosovo Relocated Specialist Institution, referred to as the Kosovo Specialist Chamber or "Specialist Court," to try war crimes allegedly committed by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army in the late 1990s
amendments: proposed by the government, by the president of the republic, or by one fourth of Assembly deputies; passage requires two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly, including two-thirds majority vote of deputies representing non-majority communities, followed by a favorable Constitutional Court assessment; amended several times, last in 2016
history: several previous; latest approved by the Assembly 21 October 1998, adopted by referendum 22 November 1998, promulgated 28 November 1998
amendments: proposed by at least one-fifth of the Assembly membership; passage requires at least a two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly; referendum required only if approved by two-thirds of the Assembly; amendments approved by referendum effective upon declaration by the president of the republic; amended several times, last in 2016
Legal system
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state: Acting President Vjosa OSMANI (since 5 November 2020); note: President Hashim THACI (since 7 April 2016) resigned 5 November 2020
head of government: Prime Minister Avdullah HOTI (since 3 June 2020)
cabinet: Cabinet elected by the Assembly
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by at least two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly for a 5-year term; if a candidate does not attain a two-thirds threshold in the first two ballots, the candidate winning a simple majority vote in the third ballot is elected (eligible for a second term); election last held on 26 February 2016 (next to be held in 2021); prime minister indirectly elected by the Assembly
election results: Hashim THACI elected president in the third ballot; Assembly vote - Hashim THACI (PDK) 71, Rafet RAMA (PDK) 0, invalid 10; Avdullah HOTI (LDK) elected prime minister; Assembly vote - 61 of 85
chief of state: President of the Republic Ilir META (since 24 July 2017)
head of government: Prime Minister Edi RAMA (since 10 September 2013); Deputy Prime Minister Senida MESI (since 13 September 2017)
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by the Assembly
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the Assembly for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); a candidate needs three-fifths majority vote of the Assembly in 1 of 3 rounds or a simple majority in 2 additional rounds to become president; election last held in 4 rounds on 19, 20, 27, and 28 April 2017 (next election to be held in 2022); prime minister appointed by the president on the proposal of the majority party or coalition of parties in the Assembly
election results: Ilir META elected president; Assembly vote - 87 - 2 in fourth round
Legislative branch
description: unicameral Assembly or Kuvendi i Kosoves/Skupstina Kosova (120 seats; 100 members directly elected by open-list proportional representation vote with 20 seats reserved for ethnic minorities - 10 for Serbs and 10 for other ethnic minorities; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 6 October 2019 (next to be held in 2023); note - early elections were held on 6 October 2019 following the dissolution of parliament on 22 August 2019, as a result of political deadlock since the resignation of Prime Minister HARADINAJ on 19 July 2019
election results: percent of vote by party/coalition - VV 25.5%, LDK 24.8%, PDK 21.2%, AAK-PSD 11.6%, Serb List 6.6%, other 10.3%; seats by party/coalition - VV 31, LDK 30, PDK 25, AAK-PSD 14, Serb List 10, Vakat 2, KDTP 2, other 6; composition - men NA, women NA, percent of women NA%
description: unicameral Assembly or Kuvendi (140 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 25 June 2017 (next to be held in 2021)
election results: percent of vote by party - PS 48.3%, PD 28.9%, LSI 14.3%, PDIU 4.8%, PSD 1%, other 2.7%; seats by party - PS 74, PD 43, LSI 19, PDIU 3, PSD 1; composition - men 108, women 32, percent of women 22.9%
Judicial branch
highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the court president and 18 judges and organized into Appeals Panel of the Kosovo Property Agency and Special Chamber); Constitutional Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and 7 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the Kosovo Judicial Council, a 13-member independent body staffed by judges and lay members, and also responsible for overall administration of Kosovo's judicial system; judges appointed by the president of the Republic of Kosovo; judges appointed until mandatory retirement age; Constitutional Court judges nominated by the Kosovo Assembly and appointed by the president of the republic to serve single, 9-year terms
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals (organized into 4 departments: General, Serious Crime, Commercial Matters, and Administrative Matters); Basic Court (located in 7 municipalities, each with several branches)

note: in August 2015, the Kosovo Assembly approved a constitutional amendment that establishes the Kosovo Relocated Specialist Judicial Institution, also referred to as the Kosovo Specialist Chambers or "Special Court"; the court, located at the Hague in the Netherlands, began operating in late 2016 and has jurisdiction to try crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other crimes under Kosovo law that occurred in the 1998-2000 period

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of 19 judges, including the chief justice); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges, including the chairman)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the High Judicial Council with the consent of the president to serve single 9-year terms; Supreme Court chairman is elected for a single 3-year term by the court members; appointments of Constitutional Court judges are rotated among the president, Parliament, and Supreme Court from a list of pre-qualified candidates (each institution selects 3 judges), to serve single 9-year terms; candidates are pre-qualified by a randomly selected body of experienced judges and prosecutors; Constitutional Court chairman is elected by the court members for a single, renewable 3-year term
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; specialized courts: Court for Corruption and Organized Crime, Appeals Court for Corruption and Organized Crime (responsible for corruption, organized crime, and crimes of high officials)
Political parties and leaders
Alliance for the Future of Kosovo or AAK [Ramush HARADINAJ]
Alternativa [Mimoza KUSARI-LILA]
Democratic League of Kosovo or LDK [Isa MUSTAFA]
Democratic Party of Kosovo or PDK [Kadri VESELI]
Independent Liberal Party or SLS [Slobodan PETROVIC]
Initiative for Kosovo or NISMA [Fatmir LIMAJ]
Movement for Self-Determination (Vetevendosje) or VV [Albin KURTI]
New Kosovo Alliance or AKR [Behgjet PACOLLI]
Serb List [Goran RAKIC]
Social Democratic Party of Kosovo or PSD [Shpend AHMETI]
Turkish Democratic Party of Kosovo or KDTP [Mahir YAGCILAR]
Vakat Coalition or VAKAT [Rasim DEMIRI]
Democratic Party or PD [Lulzim BASHA]
Party for Justice, Integration and Unity or PDIU [Shpetim IDRIZI] (formerly part of APMI)
Social Democratic Party or PSD [Paskal MILO]
Socialist Movement for Integration or LSI [Monika KRYEMADHI]
Socialist Party or PS [Edi RAMA]
International organization participation
IBRD, IDA, IFC, IMF, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, OIF (observer)
BSEC, CD, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, EITI (compliant country), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SELEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
Ambassador Vlora CITAKU (since 17 September 2015)
chancery: 2175 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 450-2130
FAX: [1] (202) 735-0609
consulate(s) general: New York
consulate(s): Des Moines (IA)
Ambassador Yuri KIM (since 27 January 2020)
chancery: 2100 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 223-4942
FAX: [1] (202) 628-7342
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Philip KOSNETT (since 3 December 2018)
telephone: [383] 38 59 59 3000
embassy: Arberia/Dragodan, Nazim Hikmet 30, Pristina
mailing address: use embassy street address
FAX: [383] 38 549 890
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Leyla MOSES-ONES (since August 2018)
telephone: [355] (4) 2247-285
embassy: Rruga e Elbasanit, 103, Tirana
mailing address: US Department of State, 9510 Tirana Place, Dulles, VA 20189-9510
FAX: [355] (4) 2232-222
Flag description
centered on a dark blue field is a gold-colored silhouette of Kosovo surmounted by six white, five-pointed stars arrayed in a slight arc; each star represents one of the major ethnic groups of Kosovo: Albanians, Serbs, Turks, Gorani, Roma, and Bosniaks

note: one of only two national flags that uses a map as a design element; the flag of Cyprus is the other

red with a black two-headed eagle in the center; the design is claimed to be that of 15th-century hero Georgi Kastrioti SKANDERBEG, who led a successful uprising against the Ottoman Turks that resulted in a short-lived independence for some Albanian regions (1443-78); an unsubstantiated explanation for the eagle symbol is the tradition that Albanians see themselves as descendants of the eagle; they refer to themselves as "Shqiptare," which translates as "sons of the eagle"
National anthem
name: Europe
lyrics/music: no lyrics/Mendi MENGJIQI

note: adopted 2008; Kosovo chose to exclude lyrics in its anthem so as not to offend the country's minority ethnic groups

name: "Hymni i Flamurit" (Hymn to the Flag)
lyrics/music: Aleksander Stavre DRENOVA/Ciprian PORUMBESCU

note: adopted 1912

International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)
six, five-pointed, white stars; national colors: blue, gold, white
black double-headed eagle; national colors: red, black
Citizenship
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Kosovo
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Albania
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Source: CIA Factbook