PRISTINA, Serbia — Kosovo's legislators were sworn in Friday at the first session of a new parliament that is widely expected to declare independence from Serbia early this year.

The lawmakers of the 120-seat assembly stood to take their oaths in the third legislature since Kosovo came under United Nations control in 1999.

The parliament is to meet again on Wednesday to vote for a Cabinet and prime minister.

The separatist Democratic Party of Kosovo of the former rebel leader Hashim Thaci won most seats in November elections, but fell short of winning enough to rule outright.

Thaci, who is expected to become prime minister and lead Kosovo into independence, has yet to strike a power-sharing deal with the party's main political rival, the Democratic League of Kosovo which came second in the poll. Both parties back statehood for Kosovo.

In the absence of any government deal, lawmakers postponed the election of a speaker until next week.

After the November elections, Thaci said he would swiftly declare independence. But in the following days he said any such move would be coordinated with the United States and the European Union to allay international fears about instability in the region.

Western diplomats favor a broad political coalition they see as a guarantee of stability among ethnic Albanians as they move closer to the anticipated declaration of independence. No move is likely to take place before presidential elections in Serbia set for Jan. 20.