May 10, 2017 / 1:40 PM / 6 months ago

Kosovo lawmakers dismiss government in no confidence motion

PRISTINA (Reuters) - Kosovo lawmakers voted on Wednesday to dismiss the government of Prime Minister Isa Mustafa in a no-confidence motion, a move that will trigger a snap election next month.

Kosovo's Prime Minister Isa Mustafa attends news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, June 30, 2015. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/Files

Seventy-eight MPs in the 120-seat parliament voted to dismiss the cabinet, which the opposition had accused of failing to meet its campaign pledges and creating public distrust.

In a speech to the parliament ahead of the vote, Mustafa said his government has done a good job in tackling unemployment and maintaining a low public debt.

“In my government there are no corrupt people,” he said.

However, in the past 18 months, the work of parliament has been interrupted by incidents including street riots, opposition deputies throwing teargas and firing of a rocket-propelled grenade at the building.

Valdete Bajrami, from the opposition party NISMA who initiated the motion, told parliament: “Our country needs a new direction.”

The 78 lawmakers who voted out the government included the biggest party in the governing coalition, but not the prime minister’s own party.

With no party willing to try to assemble a new parliamentary majority to form a new government, an election will have to be held in June according to the constitution.

A new election will further postpone the adoption of a demarcation deal with Montenegro, key for the European Union to lift its requirement of needing a visa to travel to Kosovo.

Kosovo broke with Serbia in 1999 after a NATO bombing campaign halted a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” directed against ethnic Albanians by Serbian forces trying to stamp out a two-year insurgency and declared independence in 2008.

It has been recognised by more than 100 countries, including Western powers, but not by Serbia and its big-power ally Russia or several EU members such as Spain.

Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Writing by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Alison Williams

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