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News 16 May 17

Top Politicians Spurn PM’s Post in Kosovo Elections

Neither of the leading politicians in Kosovo - President Hashim Thaci nor Prime Minister Isa Mustafa – is running for the post of Prime Minister in the June elections. 

Die Morina
BIRN
Pristina
Prime Minister Isa Mustafa and President Hashim Thaci. Photo: BIRN

While the candidates of Kosovo’s two main parties – the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, and the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK – for the post of Prime Minister remain unknown, it has become clear that neither Prime Minister Isa Mustafa nor President Hashim Thaci, will not contend for the post in the early election due on June 11.

When Mustafa was appointed leader of the LDK in 2010, his party selected him as its candidate for Prime Minister. He could only run for the post in 2014, however, following the conclusion of a coalition agreement with Thaci’s PDK.

After Mustafa’s government failed to complete its mandate, he has now decided not to stand again as the LDK candidate for the early elections set for June 11.

“Mustafa's decision not to run for Prime Minister is a relief for the LDK, which can now put the blame for any previous failures on Mustafa’s premiership,” the Pristina-based journalist and publisher, Valon Syla, said.

Syla added that Mustafa’s withdrawal had been agreed to save the LDK from being criticized over “why it entered into a coalition with the PDK, its biggest rival” in 2014. “Mustafa is politically dead,” Syla claimed.

However, the Pristina-based analyst Behlul Beqaj said a large part of the LDK still supports Mustafa.

“There are separated structures within the LDK, and biggest part of them support the concept of the ex-leader,” Beqaj told BIRN.

“These are parties … in which the role of the leader is not very important for activating the party’s potential,” Beqaj added.

On the other side, the PDK is entering the elections with its first new leader since the 1990s, Kadri Veseli, who was appointed party chief after former PM Thaci became President of Kosovo in February 2016.

According to Syla, there is a difference in the political significance of Thaci’s and Mustafa’s decisions not to run for office.

“Mustafa is now almost without any political influence, while Thaci, although he is not participating in these elections, still resonates with political impact and power,” Syla said.

“In this competition in which one leader is falling and a new one is rising, the PDK structures will make an effort to be more successful than they were in the former era,” Beqaj said.

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