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Kosovo court suspends nomination of new prime minister

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo’s Constitutional Court on Friday suspended a presidential decree nominating Avdullah Hoti of the center-right Democratic League of Kosovo, or LDK, to replace the acting prime minister.

The court held an urgent meeting, though Friday is a national holiday, following a request from 30 lawmakers of the left-wing Self-Determination party, or Vetevendosje!, of acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti, who leads a caretaker government.

Kurti’s party argued that President Hashim Thaci’s decree is unconstitutional. It claims it is the only party entitled to form a new Cabinet because it won more seats in parliament than any other party. It argues that if it cannot form a new Cabinet then the country should go to an early general election.

The court suspended Thaci’s decree until May 29. It did not give an explanation.

Kurti said he considered the court’s decision good for “the public interest” and would help the government stay focused on managing the coronavirus pandemic.

In late March, after 50 days in power, Kurti lost a no-confidence vote initiated by the LDK, his junior governing coalition partner at the time, following disagreements.

Hoti’s LDK says they have secured the required number of votes, at least 61 in the 120-seat parliament, to be confirmed. They had asked to hold an extraordinary parliamentary session on Saturday which now is not going to be held.

Kosovo was part of Serbia until an armed uprising in 1998-1999 by the ethnic Albanian majority triggered a bloody Serb crackdown. That prompted a NATO bombing campaign against Serbia to force its troops out of Kosovo in 1999.

Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence.

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