Opposition parties in Kosovo on May 5 filed a motion of no confidence in the government, in a new attempt to bring down Prime Minister Isa Mustafa’s coalition government.
More than 40 deputies, including 12 from parties that are part of the ruling coalition and some independent members of parliament, signed the motion, which accuses the government of failing to meet its campaign pledges and creating public distrust.
Mustafa, whose conservative LDK party is the second-largest in the 120-seat parliament, has enough votes to survive the no-confidence motion if all or most coalition lawmakers support him.
Parliament's largest party, the center-right PDK, has yet to give its backing, however.
The parliament will debate the motion on May 10. The opposition will need at least 61 of parliament's 120 votes to force Mustafa out.
"This is a democratic step that serves the country's benefit. I hope that when the parliamentary session is held the government will be overthrown," said Pal Lekaj, head of the opposition party Alliance for the Future of Kosovo.
Fueling the move is opposition to legislation proposed by Mustafa's government to establish a fixed border with Montenegro, a move the European Union has said is needed before it will grant visa-free travel to citizens of Kosovo.
Opposition parties say the border deal would transfer some 8,000 hectares of territory, mostly forested highland, to Montenegro. The government and its supporters in the EU and United States say that is not true.
In the two years since the border change was proposed along with a raft of other measures aimed at furthering Kosovo's bid to join the EU, opponents have used various tactics to block the legislation.
Opposition deputies have frequently disrupted parliament, throwing tear gas within the chamber, while opponents on the street outside staged riots. At one point, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the parliament building.
Opposition to the border deal from Mustafa's own coalition members prompted the government to withdraw its bid to pass the legislation in September. It would have needed a two-third's vote to pass.
"The situation in Kosovo is not good. I am not happy. People are not happy," said PDK leader Kadri Veseli, who is also the speaker of parliament, after meeting with opposition lawmakers on May 5.
Veseli said he would discuss the no-confidence motion with the prime minister.
Mustafa has said he will call a snap election if the border deal is not passed soon.