LDK’s Stock Grows in Kosovo’s Post-Election Muddle

As it remains unclear who will form the government in Kosovo, the LDK appears to hold the key to any future coalition, now that the second-placed party, Vetevendosje, has invited it to join a post-election partnership.
Voting day in Kosovo on 11 June | Photo: Atdhe Mulla

Who will form the new government in Kosovo remains unclear, after the results of the 11 June elections failed to grant immediate power to any one political entity or coalition.

Although the coalition between the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, and the Initiative for Kosovo, NISMA, came first in the election in terms of the number of seats, it will still need extra support to have a majority and form a government.

The PDK-AAK-NISMA coalition won only 39 of the 120 seats in parliament. It needs a minimum of 41 seats – plus the 20 seats of the parties from minority communities – to reach 61 seats and so form a government.

Meanwhile, Albin Kurti, the Prime Ministerial candidate from the Vetevendosje party, which did not enter any pre-election coalitions, and came second in the election, has stirred matters further by inviting the coalition led by the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, to begin talks on forming a government.

The LDK formed its own pre-election coalition with the Alliance New Kosovo and Alternative.

The constitution gives President Hashim Thaci, formerly from the PDK, the right to give a mandate to only two candidates; the second one gets a chance to form a government if the President’s first choice fails to do so. If neither gets enough votes to form the government, new elections must take place.

Krenar Gashi, a political analyst, told BIRN that in his view, matters were swinging in favour of the LDK-Vetevendosje option.

“In my view, the next government will be led by Vetevendosje and Kurti, not only because they have a greater likelihood of gathering a majority in the parliament but primarily because of the conceptual changes that this election has brought about,” he said.

The main problem of Kosovo’s political system, according to Gashi, is the fact that power has remained “informal” – meaning that it does not belong only to formal and democratically elected institutions but rather to an underground, shadowy structures.

“This is why this election was not much of a real election in terms of policy choices, but rather a choice between a continuation of such a system of governance – and change,” he told BIRN.

Gashi predicted that if fresh elections take place, “I see Vetevendosje in power and Kurti as Prime Minister”.

Meanwhile, Besa Gaxherri, a former LDK MP who stood again this time round, told BIRN that the LDK must not enter a post-election coalition with Kadri Veseli’s PDK.

“With Veseli and with PDK, there is no possibility. If I cannot speak on behalf of the LDK, I am speaking in my own name. If I am a Member of Parliament for this mandate, I will either be an independent MP or I will leave politics but I will not be part of that coalition [with the PDK],” Gaxherri said.

However, Gaxherri said she believes that is time for the LDK to stay in the opposition.

“It would be best for the LDK this time to be in opposition, to deal with itself and to be prepared for next elections in order to become the first political party,” she said.