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article imageKosovo stalemate after inconclusive election

By AFP     Jun 29, 2017 in World

Kosovo faces a political stalemate after official election results released Thursday showed no party can form a government alone -- and deep divisions make them reluctant to work together.

The "coalition of warriors" led by former rebel commanders in Kosovo's war of independence won the most seats in the June 11 vote, according to the electoral commission, but accounts for only 39 out of 120 in parliament.

The nationalist leftist Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) party followed with 32 seats, with the centre-right League of Democratic Kosovo (LDK) third on 29.

Ramush Haradinaj, a former guerrilla commander who is wanted by Serbia for war crimes during the 1990s conflict, is seeking to become prime minister but both Vetevendosje and the LDK have ruled out forming a government with him.

The two parties have nothing in common except their rejection of the "warriors", but Vetevendosje has nonetheless urged the LDK to form a coalition in order to push the PDK party of President Hashim Thaci -- part of the "coalition of warriors" -- into opposition.

Haradinaj, as leader of the largest group in parliament, has two weeks to try to cobble together a majority.

Political analyst Bekim Kupina described Kosovo as "on a razor's edge", adding the crisis will most likely end in fresh elections.

Kosovo, a former Serbian province whose 1.8 million-strong population are mainly ethnic Albanians, is one of the poorest countries in Europe.

It declared independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after the 1998-1999 independence war that ended after an 11-week long NATO bombing campaign against Serbia. The war left 13,000 people dead, the vast majority of them ethnic Albanians.

More than 110 countries have recognised Kosovo's independence including the United States and most European Union members, but Serbia has refused to do so.

Since 2011 the two sides have been engaged in a EU-moderated dialogue on normalising their ties, but these have been blocked for months due to political developments and elections in both countries.

Up to 150,000 Serbs live in Kosovo, making up the largest minority there.

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