Kosovo in limbo as coalition talks reach stalemate

Nearly three months on from a snap general election Kosovo’s main political parties have reached a deadlock in their efforts to form a new government.

While parliament last week sat for the first time since the election – with MPs electing a new speaker, Glauk Konjufca of the Vetevendosje party – the two largest political parties — Vetevendosje of Albin Kurti (pictured above), who is expected to be nominated as prime minister, with 29 seats in the 120-seat parliament, and the Democratic League of Kosovo, the LDK, with 28 seats — have yet to agree on formally creating a governing coalition.

The snap election in October was held after the resignation of the prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, who was summoned by the war crimes prosecutor in the Hague for questioning over alleged crimes committed during and after the 1998-99 Kosovo War. He remains the country’s acting prime minister until a new appointment is made.

The main stumbling block between Vetevendosje and the LDK appears to be a failure to agree on a candidate for president. The mandate of the current president, Hashim Thaçi, ends in 2021.

Although the two parties have yet to agree on a coalition, Mr Thaçi is nevertheless expected to formally nominate Mr Kurti as prime minister this week. He will then have 15 days for form a government. The LDK’s leader, Isa Mustafa, has suggested that his party might support a Vetevendosje-led minority government, but without taking any cabinet posts.

Should the LDK fail to do so, and the deadlock continues, the country may be set for a fresh election early in 2020.