August 26, 2019 / 2:22 PM / 3 months ago

Kosovo president sets October 6 as date for snap parliamentary vote

PRISTINA (Reuters) - Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci set Oct. 6 as the date for an early parliamentary election on Monday, following the resignation of Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj.

FILE PHOTO: Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci attends an interview with Reuters in Berlin, Germany, April 29, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

Haradinaj resigned on July 19 after being summoned for questioning by the country’s war crimes prosecutor over his role in the 1998-99 insurgency against Serb forces.

Kosovo’s parliament voted last week to dissolve itself, paving the way for Thaci to call an early vote.

Polls predict no party gaining enough support to form a government on its own, and lengthy coalition talks are expected.

The last government was a coalition between Haradinaj’s centre-right Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and the Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA).

The new government will be expected to relaunch talks with Belgrade on normalising relations, the main precondition for both Kosovo and Serbia to join the European Union.

Talks collapsed last November when Pristina introduced a 100% tax on products made in Serbia.

Predominantly Albanian Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nearly a decade after NATO bombing drove Serb security forces out of what was then a Serbian province. In 2013, Kosovo and Serbia agreed to EU-sponsored talks, but little progress has been made since.

Kosovo’s independence has been recognised by more than 110 states but not by others, including five EU member states, as well as Serbia, Russia and China.

Under its constitution, Serbia considers Kosovo part of its territory. Belgrade wants the 100% tax abolished before it returns to talks. Pristina says it would abolish the tax only after Serbia recognises Kosovo as a sovereign state.

Writing by Aleksandar Vasovic; Reporting by Fatos Bytyci in Pristina; Editing by Peter Graff

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