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Kosovo Votes In New Government, Ending Stalemate

Kosovo’s parliament has voted in a new government with former Pristina mayor Isa Mustafa as prime minister.

Lawmakers approved Mustafa and his government in a 73-38 vote on December 9, with two abstentions.

Mustafa's Democratic League (LDK) signed a coalition agreement on December 8 with outgoing Prime Minister Hashim Thaci's Democratic Party (PDK).

Thaci is foreign minister in the new government.

The deal and the vote ended a political stalemate that has plagued Kosovo since snap elections in June.

But Mustafa faces criticism from some of his own allies for forging a deal and an uphill battle fulfilling his own pledge to turn the economy of one of Europe's poorest countries around.

In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated Kosovo on the constitution of its government.

“This coalition government, and the process that led to its formation, demonstrate the resilience and vitality of Kosovo’s democratic and political institutions,” Kerry said.

Thaci had led the Balkan country since it declared independence in 2008.

Kosovo broke away from Belgrade in 1999, when NATO bombed Serbia and Montenegro to halt the expulsion of ethnic Albanian civilians by Serbian forces.

It is recognised by more than 100 countries but has been blocked from UN membership by Russia.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP