Partially-recognised province, Kosovo, goes to the polls after former prime minister stepped down

Kosovo—recognised by 112 states, but not by Russia, China or Serbia and its allies—will hold a snap election for the

48446578 kosovo 304

Map: BBC News

Kosovo—recognised by 112 states, but not by Russia, China or Serbia and its allies—will hold a snap election for the 120 seats in its parliament today, after former prime minister Ramush Haradinaj stepped down in July.

The election comes as Serbia and Kosovo remain deadlocked in negotiations to normalise relations. Since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, Belgrade has acknowledged several agreements with Pristina, but still refuses to implement many of them—especially the 2015 Brussels Agreement, which essentially grants de facto recognition of Kosovo’s sovereignty by acknowledging Kosovo’s police jurisdiction.

The latest dispute is Kosovo’s 100% tax on all Serbian imports, which came in response to Belgrade blocking Kosovo’s accession to Interpol. Haradinaj stated he would only remove the tax in exchange for recognition of Kosovan independence. Instead, Belgrade stepped up the campaign to block international recognition of Kosovo.

A thaw in tensions is possible, depending on which party forms a government. Should Haradinaj’s centre-right Democrats return to power, the status quo will continue. However, the opposition Democratic League, led by Osmani Vjosa and other parties, favour withdrawing the tax in exchange for Serbian commitments to ratify the accords it has already signed. This strategy would remove a sticking point for Belgrade and bring the focus back to normalisation negotiations, which gives Kosovo more bargaining power, given that both countries’ EU aspirations depend on a resolution of their ongoing dispute.