Kosovo’s failure to form a government two months after snap elections has hurt the country economically and socially, the head of the UN mission there said on Wednesday (17 August).
Kosovo’s newly-elected parliament failed on 13 August to vote for a new speaker for a fourth time following inconclusive June 11 elections.
“The election process itself consumed the energy of institutions during these past three months,” UN envoy Zahir Tanin said at a Security Council meeting on Kosovo.
“Important economic and social opportunities were missed during such a period,” he said, mentioning cancelations or deferrals of financial aid and investment.
“The climate of political uncertainty during the last quarter is tied inextricably with these facts,” he said.
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 a 11-week long NATO bombing campaign against Serbia.
More than 110 countries have recognized Kosovo’s independence including the United States and most European Union members — but not Serbia.
Britain, France, Germany, Italy and United States issued a joint statement Sunday saying they were “concerned by the ongoing situation,” and that it was “the responsibility of Kosovo’s leaders” to form a parliament and government.
President Hashim Thaci’s Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) won most seats in the snap election, but failed to win an absolute majority that would allow it to form a government alone.
Only after the speaker is elected and parliament is constituted can Thaci propose a candidate for prime minister, who then has 15 days to form a government.
“Political reconciliation, by itself, cannot overcome all divisions,” Thaci said. “It must be accompanied by societal reconciliation, by rebuilding trust and cooperation at all levels.”
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, who was at the UN meeting, said that attacks on ethnic Serbs were preventing displaced Serbs from returning to live in the country.