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Kosovo Gets New Government Four Months After Polls

Prime Minister Albin Kurti
Prime Minister Albin Kurti

PRISTINA -- Kosovo's parliament has voted to support a new government under Albin Kurti following four months of coalition talks between the Balkan country's two main parties.

A total of 66 lawmakers in the 120-seat parliament approved the new government on February 3, a day after his leftist-nationalist Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) party and the center-right Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) signed a coalition deal.

Ten deputies abstained and none voted against. Opposition lawmakers left the chamber shortly before the vote.

Later in the day, Vjosa Osmani of the LDK was elected the new speaker of parliament as part of the power-sharing agreement with Vetevendosje .

Vetevendosje topped the October 6 snap general elections but fell short of a majority. The party received 29 seats in parliament and LDK one fewer.

Addressing lawmakers before the vote, Kurti said his proposed cabinet included five women. He also said his government would strive to cut unneeded expenses and save public funds.

“We will have 15 ministries, not 21 like there were before. We will have 33 deputy ministers and not more than 80 like we had before. So, fewer expenses on posts and privileges in order to spend more in development projects,” he said.

The early elections were triggered by Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj’s resignation in July after prosecutors at a Netherlands-based international court summoned him for questioning over his wartime role as a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

The election campaign was dominated by issues of corruption, high unemployment, and a possible deal with Serbia, which continues to consider its former province part of its territory.

Kosovo’s independence, declared in 2008, has been recognized by about 100 countries, including the United States.

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