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Kosovo Lawmakers Dissolve Parliament, Pave Way for Election

A man passes by graffiti depicting the Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump in Belgrade, Serbia, Aug. 9, 2019. The Cyrillic letters on graffiti read "Kosovo is Serbia."

Kosovo lawmakers voted to dissolve parliament Friday, paving the way for a parliamentary election after Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj resigned last month.

A total of 89 deputies voted to dissolve the 120-seat parliament. An election should take place within 45 days.

Haradinaj resigned after being summoned for questioning by the country’s war crimes prosecutor over his role in the 1998-99 insurgency against Serbian forces, when he was a commander of the guerilla Kosovo Liberation Army. He denies any wrongdoing and said he is ready to face any accusations.

Polls show that no party will gain enough support to form a government on its own, and lengthy coalition talks are expected.

FILE - Former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj arrives for a Kosovo tribunal, at the Hague, Netherlands, July 24, 2019.
FILE - Former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj arrives for a Kosovo tribunal, at the Hague, Netherlands, July 24, 2019.

The last government was a coalition between Haradinaj’s party, the center-right Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and the Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA).

Haradinaj resigned from the role of prime minister once before in 2005 when he was indicted by the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal for former Yugoslavia. He was tried and acquitted twice by that court.

A major task facing the new government will be to relaunch talks with Belgrade on normalizing relations, key for both countries in their bid to join the European Union. Talks collapsed last November when Pristina introduced a 100 percent tax on products made in Serbia.

Kosovo, with a 90 percent ethnic Albanian majority, declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nearly 10 years after NATO bombing drove Serb forces out of the country. It has been recognized by more than 110 states but not by five EU member states, Serbia and Russia.

In 2013 the two countries agreed to EU-sponsored talks, but little progress has been made since. Serbia, which still considers Kosovo part of its territory, said it would return to negotiating table only once the 100 percent tax is abolished.

Pristina on the other hand says it would abolish tax only when Belgrade recognizes Kosovo as sovereign state.