UN Warns Kosovo That Political Stalemate Is Harming Economy, Social Opportunities

The United Nations says the failure by Kosovo lawmakers to form a government more than two months after elections is causing the country to miss out on "important" economic and social opportunities.

The head of the UN mission in Kosovo, Zahir Tanin, said on August 16 that the deadlock sparked by an inconclusive June 11 snap election has caused the cancellation or deferral of financial aid and investment in the country.

"The election process itself consumed the energy of institutions during these past months," Tanin said at a UN Security Council meeting on Kosovo.

"Important economic and social opportunities were missed during such a period … The climate of political uncertainty during the last quarter is tied inextricably with these facts," he said.

Parliament failed for a fifth time on August 14 to vote on a speaker, the first crucial step toward forming a new government, raising worries that Kosovo, one of Europe’s poorest countries, could be headed for a political crisis and fresh elections.

A coalition headed by the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), which includes the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), won 35 percent of the vote on June 11.

President Hashim Thaci has said that he would give Ramush Haradinaj, leader of the AAK, a formal mandate to try to form a government -- despite speculation that Haradinaj may not be able to find enough partners to get the 61 deputies needed in the 120-seat legislature needed to approve the speaker.

The president only issues the mandate once a speaker and his deputies are approved.

Officials from the European Union and other Western institutions have expressed concerns that the inconclusive June election results could plunge the country into the same constitutional crisis it faced after a 2014 vote failed to produce a clear winner, delaying the formation of a government for nine months.

The failure to move forward on creating a government prompted Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States to issue a statement on August 13 that said it was "the responsibility of Kosovo's leaders" to end the deadlock.