PRISHTINA, KOSOVA, November 18, 2007 – "I thank all of those who helped our victory and the victory of Kosova," Mr. Thaci said shortly after midnight yesterday during a celebration for his Democratic Party of Kosova (PDK), which an unofficial tally showed had won 35 per cent of Saturday's vote.
"The citizens of Kosova sent the world a message that we are a democratic country ready to join the European family," he said. "The strongest message was that Kosova is ready (for) independence."
The Democratic League of Kosova, traditionally the province's largest political bloc, trailed with 22 percent.
Official results were expected Monday.
Before hundreds of cheering supporters, Thaci said, "Tonight the clock has turned. A new century has begun. Kosova is ready to go forward on the road that will lead us closer to Kosova independence."
After casting his ballot earlier, Thaci said in an interview that if he became Kosova's prime minister he would declare independence from Serbia after Dec. 10. The date is when international envoys must report back to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon, on efforts to resolve the dispute over Kosova's future status.
"Immediately after Dec. 10, Kosova's institutions will declare the independence of Kosovo," said Thaci, 39.