Kosovo parliament convenes, opposition seeks coalition deal

PRISTINA Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:29am EDT

President of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Ramush Haradinaj, a Kosovo Albanian former guerilla commander who served briefly as prime minister, speaks during an interview with Reuters at the AAK headquarters in Pristina December 4, 2012.  REUTERS/Hazir Reka

President of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Ramush Haradinaj, a Kosovo Albanian former guerilla commander who served briefly as prime minister, speaks during an interview with Reuters at the AAK headquarters in Pristina December 4, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Hazir Reka

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PRISTINA (Reuters) - Kosovo took a step towards forming a new government on Thursday when parliament convened for the first time since indecisive June polls, with the opposition seeking a majority to take power from outgoing Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.

Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) emerged as biggest party from June 6 polls with 30 percent of votes, but three opposition parties have united in a bid to outmaneuver him.

Days of talks with a fourth party, however, have so far failed to produce a majority in the 120-seat chamber, raising the prospect of a fresh election.

Opposition parties refuse to govern with Thaci, accusing his administration of corruption, nepotism and failure to press economic reforms - accusations he denies. All parties seek a closer approach to the European Union.

The opposition says their candidate for prime minister is Ramush Haradinaj, a former guerrilla commander twice indicted and twice cleared of war crimes by the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Today’s session is largely procedural. It remains unclear if they will vote for the speaker of the parliament or delay for another session.

The president will in the next few days nominate a candidate for prime minister who will then have 15 days to name a cabinet and win its approval by parliament.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after NATO air strikes drove out Serbian forces accused of expelling and killing ethnic Albanian civilians in a two-year counter-insurgency war.

(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Matt Robinson; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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