Kosovars vote on Sunday to choose the new 120-seat parliament that will face some seemingly intractable problems. There is the thorny issue of the border demarcation deal with Montenegro that brought down the previous government; the continuation of fraught talks with Serbia, which denies Kosovo’s existence as a state; and potential war crimes trials of some senior political leaders. Nineteen political parties, five coalitions and two citizens’ initiatives, all promising to break the isolation and secure growth, have nominated candidates.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. The new state has been recognized by 114 countries, including the United States and most of the EU members, but not by Belgrade.
Kosovo is the only western Balkan country whose citizens need visas to enter the European Union’s Schengen zone. To join, Brussels insists Kosovo must first approve the border demarcation deal.
That deal with Montenegro was signed in 2015 but opposition parties say it meant a loss of territory, over 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres), or less than 1 percent of Kosovo’s land. The former Cabinet, international experts and the country’s Western backers dispute that claim.