Kosovo to hold new general election Feb. 14

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo’s acting president has set Feb. 14 as the date for a new parliamentary election following a court ruling that Parliament’s confirmation of the Cabinet in June passed because of an invalid vote.

In a late Wednesday statement, Vjosa Osmani dissolved the parliament and set the date for the new vote.

Last month, the Constitutional Court rendered invalid a vote by lawmaker Etem Arifi from the minority Ashkali Party for Integration and ruled that the country must hold a new general election.

In June, Arifi’s vote had given the government of Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti 61 votes in the 120-seat chamber.

Arifi was sentenced to 15 months in jail in August 2019 for misusing 26,000 euros ($31,000) of public money. Nevertheless, he ran for the new parliament in October of the same year and was elected to parliament as leader of a Roma minority party.

Arifi handed himself over to police in September and is now serving his sentence.

Kosovo split from Serbia after an armed uprising by the ethnic Albanian majority population in 1998-99. It declared independence in 2008 but Serbia refuses to recognize it.

Negotiations on normalizing ties with Serbia and getting the country’s economy back on its feet following the virus pandemic will be top issues in the upcoming parliamentary election, the eighth in Kosovo’s less-than-22-year history.

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