Kosovo’s election deadlock blocks funds, recognition

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Kosovo failed to establish a government two months after an election, stalling its bids for greater international recognition and blocking funds for the poverty-stricken country, said AFP in a report published on Sunday.

A coalition led by President Hashim Thaci's PDK party — itself in power since 2007 — topped early parliamentary polls held on June 11, but the alliance did not win the absolute majority needed to govern alone.

According to sources, the coalition can only form a government after nominating and winning support for a parliamentary speaker. However, so far the coalition has boycotted assembly sessions and a vote for speaker because it needs the backing of more deputies.

Agron Bajrami, editor of the Koha Ditore newspaper said "The ruling political class doesn't want to give up power.”

The UN mission in Kosovo warned on Wednesday that the political deadlock was hurting the country economically and socially.

"The election process itself consumed the energy of institutions during these past three months," UN envoy Zahir Tanin said at a Security Council meeting. He added that "important economic and social opportunities were missed during such a period."

The country is a potential candidate for European Union membership, but it now risks missing out on pre-accession assistance totaling €78 million (RM393.99 million) this year, according to the EU office in Pristina. The office said the funding program needs to be ratified by parliament and that this "should occur by December 2017, otherwise Kosovo will risk losing" the allocated aid.

One of the poorest parts of Europe, Kosovo also lost around €16 million in July from an International Monetary Fund program because there was no government to make a required legal amendment on war veterans, local media reported.

Kosovo, a former Serbian province, singly declared independence in 2008, backed by Western powers. The move has since been recognized by more than 110 countries — but not by Serbia or Russia — and Kosovo is not a United Nations member state.

Kosovo's acting foreign minister Emanuel Demaj said the country had not yet reapplied for UNESCO membership, following a failed 2015 bid, with the UN cultural body's general conference taking place in two months.