Kosovo Elects First Veiled Lawmaker

CAIRO – Making history, a Kosovo veiled Muslim woman has won a seat at the Central Balkans nation’s parliament, becoming the first lawmaker to don the Islamic headscarf, or hijab, in Kosovo.

Labinote Demi-Murtezi, the Muslim lawmaker, has won the 6,000 votes, defeating all the female candidates in the Southeastern European country, according to The Bosnia Times.

Kosovo voted in a snap parliamentary election that was marked by a low turnout.

The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) won the election with 31% of voters in the country that has one of Europe’s highest poverty rates coupled with unemployment and corruption.

Ahead of the elections, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s of the PDK, promised to end hijab ban in schools if elected.

The ban imposed on hijab in Kosovo schools is claimed to aim at limiting a stronger Muslim identity.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

In May 2014, two veiled Muslim women from Greece and Slovenia were nominated to represent their countries in the European Parliament.

Muslim Albanians make up more than 95 percent of Kosovo’s 1.86 million population.

The province, which was run by the UN since a 1999 NATO campaign ended ethnic cleansing by Serbian troops, declared independence in 2008.