Kosovo minister resigns after election bribery allegations

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PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo’s foreign minister on Tuesday resigned following allegations she had rigged the vote to win a seat in the new parliament.

Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla, 37, posted a letter announcing her resignation on her Facebook page, rejecting allegations in the media that her husband had bribed election officials to help her gain ballots and a parliamentary seat in the Feb. 14 election.

Haradinaj-Stublla also resigned from her political party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, or AAK, which won eight seats. She also asked prosecutors to investigate the allegations.

Her move won’t have much impact since she belonged to a caretaker Cabinet operating until the new parliament convenes and elects the government.

Acting Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti nominated his deputy, Besnik Tahiri, to her post.

Final results showed that the left-wing Self-Determination Movement, or Vetevendosje!, led by Albin Kurti won 58 seats in the 120-seat Parliament.

Kurti has said he will ask for the seats from the country’s non-Serb minority to set up his Cabinet, and not the AAK.

Kosovo has always held early elections since declaring independence from Serbia in 2008, with no prime minister since then holding office for a full four-year term.

Kosovo’s independence came a decade after a brutal 1998-1999 war between separatist ethnic Albanian rebels and Serb forces, which ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign that drove Serb troops out and a peacekeeping force moved in.

Most Western nations have recognized Kosovo, but not Serbia and its allies Russia and China.

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