Saturday June 19th, 2021 6:35PM

Kosovo’s new parliament convenes next week to nominate PM

By The Associated Press

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo’s new parliament holds its first session next week to discuss and likely nominate the new prime minister.

Acting President Vjosa Osmani decided on Monday to convene the new parliament, which resulted from the Feb. 14 election, on March 22.

Upon confirming the lawmakers’ vote, the parliament will likely nominate the new prime minister.

Albin Kurti is expected to take the post after his left-wing Self-Determination Movement, or Vetevendosje!, won 58 out of the parliament’s 120 seats, but short of an absolute majority to form a Cabinet on its own. Kurti has said he will need the votes of the non-Serb minority parties.

Forming the new government may be easier for Kurti’s Vetevendosje! rather than electing the new president, until May, when it needs to secure two thirds of the votes.

The new government will need to revive Kosovo's economy, beat back unemployment, as well as to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, organized crime and corruption.

Negotiations to normalize ties with neighboring Serbia, which stalled again last year, don’t figure high on Kurti’s agenda, despite international pressure.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a decade after a brutal 1998-1999 war between separatist ethnic Albanian rebels and Serb forces, which ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign that drove Serb troops out and a peacekeeping force moved in.

Most Western nations have recognized Kosovo, but Serbia and its allies Russia and China don't. Tensions over Kosovo remain a source of volatility in the Balkans.

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