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U.S., Four European Countries Call On Kosovo's Political Leaders To Stave Off Crisis

AAK leader Ramush Haradinaj may not have the votes to set up a government.
AAK leader Ramush Haradinaj may not have the votes to set up a government.

The United States and four Western European countries have called on political leaders in Kosovo to stave off a political crisis after being unable to elect a speaker or move forward with the formation of a new government.

Two months removed from snap elections, the tiny country's political groups failed once again on August 10 to vote for a parliament speaker and allow the president to appoint a prime minister.

The latest failure prompted Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States to issue a statement on August 13 that it was "the responsibility of Kosovo's leaders" to move the country’s political institutions forward.

"We are concerned by the ongoing political situation in Kosovo," said a joint statement released by the countries' embassies in the capital, Pristina.

While parliament is set to hold another session on August 14, the failure to vote on a speaker so far has raised worries that Kosovo could be headed for yet another political crisis and fresh elections.

The International Monetary Fund shelved a final review of its 184 million-euro ($200 million) two-year funding package with Kosovo on July 28, putting off the disbursement of remaining funds due to the lack of a government. So far Pristina has received 169 million euros in three tranches of the loan.

Early elections on June 11 failed to give any party a ruling majority. A coalition headed by the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), which includes the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), won 35 percent of the vote.

President Hashim Thaci has said that he would give Ramush Haradinaj, leader of the AAK, a formal mandate to try to form a government -- despite speculation that Haradinaj may not be able to find coalition partners.

The process has hit a roadblock amid signs that the PDK-led coalition might not have enough support to create a majority and form a government.

Officials from the European Union and other Western institutions have expressed concerns that the inconclusive election results could plunge the country into the same constitutional crisis it faced after a 2014 vote failed to produce a clear winner, delaying the formation of a government for nine months.

Kosovo in 2008 declared independence from Serbia and has since been recognized by more than 110 countries worldwide, although not by Serbia or Russia.

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