Kosovo’s parliament failed to elect a new speaker on Thursday, August 3, increasing the risk of a political crisis. This was the first time that the Parliament had convened since snap elections were held on June 11, and was largely perceived as a test of the new Parliament’s ability to form a government and appoint a Prime Minister.
This failure is due in large part to the inability of the new coalition (which holds 39 out of 129 seats in parliament) and the major opposing political party (which accounts for 32 seats) to form an alliance. The failure to elect a speaker has left many worried that Kosovo is headed for new elections. Protests in reaction to Parliament’s inability to form a government may occur in the coming weeks.
A coalition of former ethnic Albanian rebel commanders won the majority of votes in Kosovo's snap general election. The alliance, dubbed the “war wing” by Kosovo’s media, won 35.78 percent of votes, falling short of an outright majority. The snap election took place a year earlier than originally planned due to Prime Minister Isa Mustafa's government losing a no-confidence vote on May 10. It was Kosovo’s third election since 2008.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, however Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as an independent state. Most of Kosovo’s 1.8 million people are ethnically Albanian, and there is often tension between the country’s Serb minority, who automatically get ten representatives in Kosovo’s legislative assembly.
Due to the threat of heightened political tensions, individuals present in Kosovo are advised to avoid all large crowds and protests. Check local media and consult with local contacts or your home diplomatic service for advice.
On a separate note, although direct passage from Serbia to Kosovo is permitted, it is not currently possible to travel from Kosovo directly into Serbia; entry into Serbia is only possible via a third country. If tensions rise in the north, it is advisable to avoid border crossing Gates 1 and 31 (Leposavic and Zubin Potok).