Kosovo Court Says New Government Can Be Formed Without an Election

PRISTINA, Kosovo — The Constitutional Court ruled late on Thursday that a new government can be formed without holding a snap election, a decision opposed by the caretaker prime minister’s party, which has vowed street protests.

The government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti was dismissed on March 25 after less than two months in office, following disagreements with its main partner, the Democratic League of Kosovo, or LDK, over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and removal of tariffs on Serbian goods.

“The biggest political party does not have the exclusivity to propose the candidate of the prime minister to form the government,” the court said in its verdict.

Mr. Kurti backed a snap election after seeing that other parties had rallied together with his former coalition partner the LDK to form a new government. His party said it will organize protests in coming days.

The task of forming the government is now being given to the LDK nominee Avdullah Hoti, a former deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Mr. Hoti has promised he will return to negotiations with Serbia to normalize ties under European Union and United States mediation. Such talks were halted in 2018 when a previous government introduced a 100 percent tariffs on goods produced in Serbia.

The move has angered the E.U. and the United States, which backed Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 after wars tore apart the former Yugoslavia.

Mr. Kurti has said the change in government is being fueled by President Hashim Thaci, who Mr. Kurti said agreed to a land swap with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. Mr. Thaci has denied the accusations.

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