New Ex-Reb Prime Minister Vows Kosovo Independence
Promises independence from Serbia by Dec. 10
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2007 5:54 AM CST
Former rebel leader turned politician Hashim Thaci, gives the thumbs up in a sign of victory after he declared himself winner, based on unofficial preliminary results, in parliamentary elections in the...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A one-time rebel leader promising independence from Serbia surged to victory in yesterday's parliamentary elections in Kosovo. Prime Minister-elect Hashim Thaci, formerly a head of the Kosovo Liberation Army, vowed as he cast his ballot that he will declare Kosovo independent "immediately" if United Nations mediation fails to deliver independence by Dec. 10, reports the Los Angeles Times.

With most ballots counted, Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo led with 35% of the vote, with the closest rival trailing at 22%. "Tonight the clock has turned" toward an independent Kosovo, Thaci proclaimed. Talks have long been deadlocked between Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority and Serbian government officials who say they'll never recognize an independent Kosovo.