Kosovo. In February, Parliament appointed a new president
after Atifete Jahjaga, whose term of office expired. After
two votes when a two-thirds majority was demanded, Foreign
Minister Hashim Thaši won in the third attempt, when a
simple majority was enough. Former guerrilla leader Thaši
and former prime minister had been promised the presidential
post in a settlement to resolve a government crisis in 2014.
countryaah, the election was marked by concern with new tear gas
attacks in Parliament and clashes on the streets of the
capital Priština. The opposition claimed that cheating had
occurred, but the Constitutional Court upheld the election
result. Behind the tear gas protests in Parliament, which
began last autumn, lay opposition politicians who opposed
the settlement reached on municipal autonomy for the Kosovo
Serbs. Thaši had taken a leading role in the talks, which
also aimed at improving relations with Serbia in order to
improve the chances of both parties joining the EU. The
opposition boycotted the ceremony when Thaši took office in
An obstacle on the road to Serbian autonomy was cleared
when Kosovo and Serbia agreed in November on
telecommunications, which meant that in December Kosovo
received its own country code, 383.
The opposition's often violent protests also aimed at a
contentious agreement with Montenegro on the border
demarcation between the countries, which meant that 8,000
hectares of land would accrue to the neighboring country.
The land was uninhabited. The issue caused a new tear gas
attack in parliament in August, and the same month the
public service company RTK was subjected to hand grenade
attacks by a group which claimed that RTK had taken the
government's party over the border agreement.
When Parliament would then approve the agreement, it
ended with the entire vote being postponed indefinitely, to
the cheers of the government opponents. Clarifying the
border demarcation between countries was crucial to Kosovo's
chances of getting visa-free access to the EU and being able
to continue to approach the Union.
In October, a law was passed to nationalize most of the
Trepca mining complex in Mitrovica to save it from
bankruptcy. As a result, the Kosovo Serbs decided on boycott
by both parliament and government. The issue of ownership
has long been a matter of dispute also with the Belgrade
government. The recovery of mainly lead, zinc and silver in
Trepca accounted for around two-thirds of Kosovo's economy
before the 1990s war, but the operation then ended up saving
and debts grew enormous.