Ex-KLA regional leader launches Kosovo political movement

PRISTINA, May 3, 2000 -- (AFP) A former high-ranking member of the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) launched his own political movement Tuesday, which some western observers say could change Kosovo's political landscape.

Ramush Haradinaj, 31, who commanded Kosovo's key western sector during the KLA's two-year struggle against Belgrade, said his Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) would take a centrist, liberal stance.

The movement is made up of four parties, including the People's Movement for Kosovo (LPK), the first ethnic Albanian party to go into exile outside the former Yugoslavia.

The LPK and another AAK member, the National Movement for the Liberation of Kosovo (LKCK), were among the earliest supporters of the KLA.

The two other members at Tuesday's launch were the Albanian Unification Party (UNIKOMB) and the Parliamentary Party of Kosovo (PPK).

Haradinaj stressed that his new movement was not the party of the ex-KLA, and said it would be open "to all the citizens of Kosovo, not just Albanians."

He also said he would not be seeking a seat on the joint power-sharing council set up by the UN-administration of Kosovo.

"It is not my intention to run for a seat" on the Interim Administrative Council (IAC), he said.

"My intention is to work more for our life, for our society," he said.

He said his movement would set up working groups to study initiatives from the IAC and the 19 departments of the Joint Interim Administrative Structure set up in December to involve local politicians in running the Yugoslav province.

Some western observers have said that Haradinaj, who enjoys wide support in Kosovo, could eclipse other members of the IAC who signed up at the outset of the joint structure.

Unofficial polls show that the Unified Democratic Movement (LBD) of IAC-member Rexhep Qosja enjoys only limited support.

There was speculation that even the party of the KLA's former political head, Hashim Thaci, another IAC member, could be overtaken by the AK.

Original article