PRISTINA - Kosovo’s government collapsed Wednesday after it lost a confidence vote in parliament, expected to trigger a snap election after over a year of political crisis in the tiny Balkan country.

The ruling coalition had been strained by growing discord between its two main parties, President Hashim Thaci’s centre-right PDK and the conservative LDK of Prime Minister Isa Mustafa.

Under the constitution fresh elections have to be held within 45 days, and the president is expected to call them by the end of the week.

Of those present, 78 deputies in the 120-member parliament backed the no confidence motion while 34 were against it, speaker Kadri Veseli said.

The main trigger for the confidence vote was a border demarcation deal with neighbouring Montenegro, the final condition for obtaining visa-free travel in the European Union.

Three main opposition parties strongly oppose the move, alleging that the deal deprives Kosovo of several thousand hectares of land.

Since the signing of the deal, the opposition has released tear gas in the parliament on many occasions and has also held street protests, some of which were marred by serious violence.

Kosovo’s political crisis has also been fuelled by another agreement, reached with former foe Serbia in mid-2015, that envisages political autonomy for the Serb minority.

The opposition also fiercely opposes this deal.

The PDK eventually supported the rest of the opposition in their wish for early parliamentary elections, before their scheduled date next year.

Kosovo, home to around 1.8 people who are mostly ethnic Albanians, unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

The move is now recognised by more than 110 countries. But Serbia, supported by its traditional ally Russia, still rejects it.