PODUJEVA, Kosovo — Saranda Bogujevci gazed without flinching at a cluster of bullet holes left in the garden wall by a massacre two decades ago that wiped out most of her family and put 16 rounds into her own body.
She said her mind had erased visual memories of the slaughter by the Scorpions, a Serb paramilitary unit. But, she said, “I can still smell the earth mixed with the smell of blood.”
Ms. Bogujevci’s against-the-odds survival — she was left for dead in a heap of bodies in her neighbor’s garden — and her subsequent determination to testify against the men who murdered her mother, grandmother, two brothers and four other relatives have made her a symbol of uncommon fortitude in Kosovo, a land still scarred by the traumas of war in the 1990s.
But Ms. Bogujevci, 35, is far more than a symbol. She is part of an unlikely wave of women being elected to Parliament in Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, but remains one of the poorest countries in Europe. When final results of a Feb. 14 election were finally announced on Thursday in Pristina, the capital, they showed that women had won more seats in Parliament than ever before — nearly 40 percent of the total.
Kosovo’s declaration of independence.
These elected women have convinced voters that they can stand up to Serbia, which has refused to recognize Kosovo as an independent state, and also confront the corruption, criminality and poor governance that dashed the high hopes that attended the end of Serbian rule.
arrested on war crimes charges — is expected to be selected outright in coming days. Ms. Osmani, who ran for election on the same ticket as Ms. Bogujevci, won more votes than any other candidate — and also more votes than anyone else since Kosovo started holding elections two decades ago.
Her appeal is particularly strong among young people and women, more than 60 percent of whom, according to exit polls, voted for a slate of candidates that she led along with Albin Kurti, a longtime champion of progressive causes.