Kosovo parliament set to vote for coalition government

Former Pristina mayor Isa Mustafa to be named new prime minister in Kosovo, and Hathim Thaci to become his deputy

Former Pristina mayor Isa Mustafa to be named new prime minister in Kosovo, and Hathim Thaci to become his deputy

PRISTINA, Kosovo - Kosovo’s parliament is set to choose a new coalition government and parliament speaker, after a surprise agreement between the country's two main political parties on Monday. 

The deal, expected to be approved by lawmakers Tuesday, will end a six-month-long political crisis in Europe’s newest state.

Isa Mustafa, the former mayor of the Kosovar capital of Pristina and the leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo, is to be chosen as the new prime minister of Kosovo.

Hathim Thaci, the prime minister of Kosovo since 2008 and the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, is to be elected deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs.

It has been widely reported in Kosovar media that Thaci -- whose party came second in early general elections on June 8 with 25.24 per cent of the vote -- will become the president in 2016 under the coalition agreement when the mandate of incumbent President Atifete Jahjaga expires, but there has been no official comment on the reports.

- 'Citizens' best interests'

Thaci signed the coalition deal with Mustafa earlier Monday in the parliament in Pristina.

He said the new Kosovo government would continue talks with Belgrade as per the agreement signed in Brussels in April 2013. The deal called for a normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia under the auspices of the EU -- the fulfillment of which is a main condition for both countries to join the European Union.

Mustafa told reporters: "The agreement signed today is in the best interests of our citizens and of progress in our country."

He said the new government would focus on the economic development of the country's near two-million-strong population, on employment and on the rule of law.

Mustafa added that he was aware of the need for continuing dialogue with Serbia, which is seen as essential in order for the two neighboring countries to accede to the European Union.

- Speaker elected

The deal came after Thaci's party had been unable to form a government for months, despite its coming in first in the June elections with 30.38 percent of the vote.

Earlier in the day, Kadri Veseli, from the Democratic Party of Kosovo, was elected the new speaker for the 120-seat parliament with 71 votes, 42 against and one abstention.

The party of Kosovo’s Serbs, Srpska List, declined to participate in the vote after it said its conditions were not fulfilled by the coalition parties. 

The Democratic League of Kosovo and Democratic Party of Kosovo governed under a coalition from 2007 to 2010, when the Democratic League of Kosovo took the post of president and the Democratic Party of Kosovo took the post of prime minister.

The coalition broke up in 2010 ahead of early general elections. 

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, and has since been recognized by 108 states, including the U.S., Germany, UK, France and Turkey.

Serbia, together with China and Russia, are among those countries which do not recognize its independence.

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