President of Troubled Kosovo Province Resigns
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ The president of Yugoslavia’s southern province of Kosovo resigned Wednesday after disturbances there that killed at least 24 people and injured more than 200, the official Tanjug news agency reported.
It said Remzi Koljgeci, head of Kosovo’s collective presidency, cited his ″objective and personal responsibility for the situation in the province″ in handing in his resignation.
The presidency accepted Koljgeci’s resignation and nominated Bajram Seljani, a member of that body, to act as caretaker until a new president is elected, said Tanjug.
Ethnic Albanian rioters opposing constitutional changes clashed with police throughout Kosovo last week, leading authorities to detain 400 people and to impose a dusk-to-dawn curfew that is still in force.
Ethnic Albanians make up over 80 percent of Kosovo’s population. They claim the constitutional changes will limit the autonomy of the province, which administratively is part of Yugoslavia’s largest republic, Serbia.
The reforms provide for more jurisdiction by Serbian authorities over judicial and police affairs in the province. The authorities say the reforms were imperative to protect Kosovo’s Slav inhabitants from what they describe as persecution and harassment by ethnic Albanians.
The Serbian parliament formally adopted the package of constitutional reforms on March 28.
Following the violence, three members of the ruling, 13-member Politburo of Kosovo’s Communist Party lost their jobs Saturday and three members of the provincial Central Committee were expelled from the party.
Among those expelled was Azem Vlasi, former Kosovo party chief, who was arrested last month for allegedly instigating ethnic Albanian unrest in the region.