"Thaci has the advantage of being the young charismatic fighter who achieved more in nine months than Rugova’s pacifism did in 10 years," says TIME Central Europe bureau chief Massimo Calabresi. "But many Kosovars don’t trust the KLA, and it has no political structures through which to build support. Rugova, on the other hand, has been discredited by his dealings with Milosevic during the war, but he still has the strongest political organization operating throughout Kosovo."
Even before they’ve resolved their power struggle, Kosovo’s ethnic-Albanian leaders are facing a new political crisis. The U.N. High Commission for Refugees reported Friday that Kosovo’s Serbs are facing not simply spontaneous acts of vengeance by returning Albanians, but a systematic campaign of killings, kidnappings and arson designed to drive them from the province. Being accused of ethnic cleansing isn’t going to help the Kosovar leadership win the international legitimacy it covets.