Kosovo parliament names new government after months of crisis


Pristina (AFP)

Kosovo named a new government Wednesday after months of political turmoil in the former Serbian province, casting out left-wing leader Albin Kurti and raising tensions with his supporters.

The new government was cobbled together by Kurti's former coalition partner, the centre-right LDK, who quit his alliance in March, plunging Kosovo into a leadership crisis in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

The LDK's Avdullah Hoti, a 44-year-old economics professor, was endorsed as Prime Minister with 61 votes from the 120-member parliament.

"I feel responsible to the deputies, to the citizens and to the Constitution for the tasks that await us," he told the assembly.

He also vowed to advance stalling talks with former war foe Serbia.

The vote was boycotted by MPs from Kurti's leftist and nationalist Vetevendosje party, who have been carrying out "rehearsal" protests in recent weeks as tensions mount.

His supporters have been demanding new elections and accuse rival politicians of "stealing" their vote for Vetevendosje in October polls.

The party's first-place finish was hailed as a historic defeat of the former rebel fighters who have dominated Kosovo since its independence from Serbia in 2008.

But with only a narrow margin of victory, Kurti was forced to ally with LDK to form a ruling coalition.

The honeymoon didn't last long with LDK launching a no-confidence motion in March, in part because of US pressure over Kurti's policy towards former war foe Serbia.

The new coalition consists of an alliance between LDK, two former opposition groups and parties representing ethnic minorities.