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Newcomer's strong showing in weekend election highlights disillusion of large number of voters with results of mainstream political parties and disgust with corruption.
Kosovo observers were mulling the surprisingly strong showing of the nationalist Vetevendosje [Self-determination] movement, which came third in Sunday’s national elections with 12.2 per cent of the vote, according to the Central Election Commission’s preliminary results on Monday.
Leader Albin Kurti only decided in June to contest the elections, saying his aim was to change Kosovo, not just its leaders. "The change is not being done for the sake of changing those who hold power but for the sake of changing Kosovo’s image," Kurti said in summer.
Kurti, whose movement espouses union of Kosovo with neighbouring Albania, appears to have done especially well among the young, capitalising on a strong anti-incumbency mood, disappointment with the country's continuing poverty and resentment of endemic corruption.
He was backed on the campaign trail by former US diplomat William Walker, who exposed the Recak massacre in 1999 when he worked as an OSCE observer.
"I voted for Vetevendosje because they are the only party that will fight corruption in Kosovo," a student told Balkan Insight. "Parliament is stronger than ever now," said another, adding that it was Vetevendosje that fought hardest for students in recent years.
"The movement has always fought for human rights in Kosovo," a 23-year-old said. "I don’t think Kurti will join [outgoing premier Hashim] Thaci in a coalition because they differ like night and day."
"I haven’t voted for the movement but I am glad that they did so well," a 50-year-old man said. “Kurti has declared that he will not go into coalition with Thaci. If he does, he will lose all this support in the next elections."
On Monday, the party presented the findings of its observers who have complained of voter manipulation and fraud in some constituencies.
The movement said that it would contest the results from four polling centres, all sited in strongholds of Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK.
At a press conference, some of the movement's observers claimed that they had been intimated and even beaten by militants of the PDK and the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, led by Ramush Haradinaj.
Dearth of official events marking third anniversary of independence partially reflects the fact that Kosovo lacks a government right now - but also a feeling that the country is adrift.
The World Court ruling on independence, early general elections and waves of corruption arrests marked a year of political turbulence – but Hashim Thaci remained on top for the time being.
Balkan Insight has learnt that results from one-in-three polling stations require further investigation for fraud, calling into the question results from the whole country.
I’m not sure who said that you campaign in poetry and govern in prose, but in Kosovo’s case, the electioneering for the December 12 poll has been more like ad-lib street rap than Keats or Baudelaire.
Democratic Party of Kosovo is on course for a narrow win in Sunday’s poll but whether it will be able to form a viable coalition is far from clear.
A growing number of Serbian political actors, both in Kosovo and Serbia, realise that the policy of boycotting Kosovar institutions is in fact a denial of reality on the ground.
You never know when you might get that hushed call from the man with the New Jersey brogue telling you that you are about to become president.
Around 1.6million people out of an estimated population of 2million are eligible to vote on December 12, although hundreds of thousands of registered Kosovars live outside of the country and thousands of dead people remain on the electoral roll.