Pacolli steps down after court ruling

Kosovo's newly elected president Behgjet Pacolli has stepped down from his post after a court ruled his election was unconstitutional.

This content was published on March 30, 2011 - 17:32 and agencies

But according to one of his advisors, Pacolli, a naturalised Swiss, will stand for re-election.

Kosovo's nine-member Constitutional Court said on Wednesday last month's vote in parliament "was unconstitutional and shall no longer be in force".

In the ruling posted on its website, the court said more than one candidate for the presidency was required for an election to be valid and at least two-thirds of parliament's 120 lawmakers had to be present.

Only 67 lawmakers were at the vote because most opposition members walked out in protest over the nomination of Pacolli, and the controversial multi-millionaire's business ties to Russia. After the election, an opposition party filed a complaint saying irregularities marred the voting process.

Pacolli was elected by a slim majority after three rounds of voting by the new Kosovar parliament.

The ruling was the second against a Kosovo head of state in six months. President Fatmir Sejdiu resigned in September after the same court said he violated the constitution by also serving as a party leader.
Pacolli founded Swiss-based construction engineering firm Mabetex and is estimated to be worth over SFr1 billion ($1.09 billion). He entered politics in 2006 and took a leading role in forming the New Kosovo Alliance party.

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