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news 09 Jun 17

Kosovo Election Could Be Prelude to Power Tussle

While the coalition around the Democratic Party of Kosovo appears likely to win the largest number of votes, analysts say it is far from clear which party will be able to form a government after Sunday's snap elections.

Die Morina
BIRN
Pristina
Kadri Veseli, Democratic Party of Kosovo leader, and Ramush Haradinaj, coalition candidate for PM. Photo: Facebook

The coalition of three parties - the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, and the Initiative for Kosovo, NISMA, is being predicted to win the most votes in Sunday’s elections, but not enough to establish an administration.

“I expect the result to be such that none of the entities can get a majority to create a government alone,” political analyst Imer Mushkolaj told BIRN.

Petrit Zogaj from the NGO FOL also thinks there will be another contest after election day.

“Obviously, the biggest race will be seen after the June 11 elections, when government mathematics needs to be done,” Zogaj told BIRN.

This would not be the first time that Kosovo has seen drawn-out post-election wrangling.

Following the 2014 general elections, the country entered a six-month-long deadlock with none of the two biggest parties – the LDK and PDK at the time – being able to form a government.

Eventually, in December 2014, the longtime rivals formed a joint government after LDK signed a power-sharing agreement with the PDK; the government was formed as a matter of urgency as Kosovo needed to approve a budget for 2015.

Bajrush Morina, another Pristina-based analyst, told BIRN that the PDK-AAK-NISMA coalition is facing major internal divisions, with each party leading a separate campaign, which may have an impact on its level of support at the polls.

“June 11 will not be decisive for any coalition or party,” Morina predicted.

“[Opposition party] Vetevendosje will hold the key to creating the institutions [of government],” he added

The main opposition Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) party has seen a boost in its popularity in recent years.

This came as a consequence of the many compromises and scandals in which Kosovo’s political elites from all the other parties have been involved.

Analysts said meanwhile that the PDK and it coalition partners have created a perception that it is a winning coalition.

Zogaj said the coalition has “repeatedly referred to the results of the last elections of 2014, where all three of them together received over 300,000 votes”.

“There will not be a problem for this coalition to come first in the 11 June elections,” he predicted

“Based on the results of the previous elections, the impression is that the PAN (PDK-AAK-NISMA) coalition is the favourite,” analyst Mushkolaj agreed.

However Mushkolaj cautioned that it is difficult to predict the outcome of the election, saying that “it should not be forgotten that the unification of entities in the coalition in itself has irritated a part of the electorate of these parties, who only expected to vote for their [own] political entity”.

Analyst Arton Demhasaj from the NGO COHU also predicted that the coalition would lead at the ballot box.

“Based on past elections, it is likely that most of the voters will back the PDK-AAK-NISMA coalition,” he said.

Analysts meanwhile predicted that the other coalition between the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, and Alliance New Kosovo, AKR, would come second.

“The LDK-AKR coalition may be the second party, and Vetevendosje with an emphatic increase, and based on the polls, may be the third party,” Demhasaj said.

Zogaj said that the race for second has never been more open than in these elections.

“Vetevendosje is having a strong race to be the second in these elections,” he said.

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