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Kosovo: After ethnic Serb lawmakers sit out vote on army, Kosovo dissolves parliament

8th May 2014
Kosovo: After ethnic Serb lawmakers sit out vote on army, Kosovo dissolves parliament


Kosovo’s legislators have backed a motion for the dissolution of parliament, paving the way for early elections in June. The decision interrupted a controversial debate on Kosovo’s armed forces.

With all of Kosovo’s major political parties having previously agreed to snap polls on June 8, the country’s parliament voted Wednesday 90-4 to dissolve itself, with three abstentions.

On Monday, the legislature had planned to vote on establishing a military  for the fledgling country, but Serbian lawmakers boycotted the proceedings to prevent a quorum, as Kosovo’s constitution requires that two-thirds of deputies representing ethnic minorities be present for votes.  Tens of thousands of Serbs still live in Kosovo, which formally declared its independence in 2008.

Ahead of the vote on Wednesday, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci had said that “the parliament that cannot launch its own army should not continue.”

A former province of Serbia with a mostly ethnic Albanian population, Kosovo has had its share of  political and economic struggles since declaring its independence. Despite  improving relations, Serbia opposes any military for Kosovo. Previous to last year, however, Serbia had  refused to recognize the statehood of Kosovo at all.

President Atifete Jahjaga must now schedule the new elections to take place within 45 days.

mkg/rc (Reuters, dpa, AP)

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