PAN 39 deputies, Vetevendosje 32, LAA 29.
Over 700,000 Kosovars, representing 41.3 percent of the electorate voted in Kosovo’s recent parliamentary elections, choosing who they wanted to represent them in the new government. This data was presented by the Central Election Commision (CEC) together with the final declaration of the election results, for the early election held on June 11.
The official results show that the PDK-AAK-NISMA (PAN) coalition obtained the highest number of votes with 33.74 percent of the overall share, followed by Vetevendosje with 27.49 percent and the LDK-AKR-Alternativa (LAA) coalition with 25.53. The results also revealed who the deputies of Kosovo’s new legislature will be.
The PAN coalition will have 39 deputies in Kosovo’s Assembly, Vetevendosje will have 32, and the LAA coalition 29. Vetevendosje is confirmed as the party that has grown significantly in size in comparison to the 2014 elections; in those elections, Vetevendosje had only 13.59 percent of the total votes, and 16 deputies, whereas in this election it has doubled its number of representatives, replacing PDK as the largest single party.
Out of the prime ministerial candidates, Vetevendosje’s Albin Kurti secured the most votes with 143,642, followed by LAA coalition candidate Avdullah Hoti from LDK with 115,658.
Based on the number of deputies and percentage of votes, PDK had previously been the largest single party since 2007. However in this election, the party only managed to secure 23 seats in the Assembly, placing it second behind Vetevendosje. PDK’s coalition partner, AAK — whose leader Ramush Haradinaj is PAN’s prime ministerial candidate — has managed to obtain 10 deputy seats, while fellow coalition partner Nisma will have six seats.
This year’s election results also mark the weakest performance for LDK since its founding 28 years ago. LDK has only managed to secure 23 seats, and its coalition partner AKR has four. The other two seats from LDK’s electoral coalition come from its other partner, Alternativa, whose deputies will be Mimoza Kusari-Lila and Ilir Deda.
Out of the prime ministerial candidates, Vetevendosje’s Albin Kurti secured the most votes with 143,642, followed by LAA coalition candidate Avdullah Hoti from LDK. PAN’s AAK prime ministerial candidate Haradinaj, received 101,994 votes, less than the 129,818 votes secured by coalition partner and PDK leader, Kadri Veseli, who topped PAN’s candidate list.
Now that the official results have been announced by CEC, they must first be certified* before President Thaci convenes a constitutive session of the Assembly, at which the largest parliamentary group, PAN, will nominate a President of the Assembly, in order to pave the way for forming a government. (For more on the next steps, click here.)
Winners and losers
The race to secure seats in the Parliament has left several well-known former deputies outside of the Assembly. PDK’s deputy leaders Hajredin Kuci and Arsim Bajrami failed to win enough votes to be a part of the Assembly, even though they have been present as either deputies or government officials since 2007.
One of the most critical voices within PDK, Nait Hasani, who was a deputy in the past legislature also failed to obtain enough votes to enter parliament. Hasani has been a voice of internal opposition against many of the decisions made by PDK under the leadership of Veseli, including on some of the most controversial issues the previous legislature faced: the Association of Serb Majority Municipalities and the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro. Hasani had publicly stood against the official positions of his party; earlier this year his name came up in the ‘Pronto’ wiretap releases published by Insajderi, as PDK officials were heard accusing Hasani of being disloyal to the party.
A number of names in PAN’s new list of candidates are the children of notable parents, and have been described in media reports as candidates that have inherited their family’s mandates, since they have not previously been present in the political sphere or held past professional roles. They include sixth placed Mergim Lushtaku (PDK), who is the son of Sami Lushtaku, the Mayor of Skenderaj that is currently facing war crimes charges. Another notable new PDK deputy is Andin Hoti, son of Ukshin Hoti, who has been missing since being held as a political prisoner in the ’90s. President Thaci’s niece, Evgjeni Thaci-Dragusha, is also a newly elected PDK deputy.
Despite having expressed that his intention in entering AAK was to become a part of the Assembly, Matoshi was not able to secure enough votes for a seat.
AAK inserted a number of new names in its candidate list this year. One of them was Muharrem Nitaj, the former journalist who is part of the party’s membership council and one of the people closest to leader Ramush Haradinaj, but he did not obtain enough votes for a seat.
Halil Matoshi, a well-known publicist, was another name that joined AAK’s candidate list for the election campaign, even though he had previously publicly been positioned against the party, especially on the issues of border demarcation with Montenegro and the Association of Serb Majority Municipalities. Despite having expressed that his intention in entering AAK was to become a part of the Assembly, Matoshi was not able to secure enough votes for a seat.
In contrasting fortunes, Daut Haradinaj, who served as a deputy in the previous Assembly but had expressed his wish not to be re-elected this time as he wished to engage more closely with the AAK branch in Decan, was elected in fourth place on PAN’s list.
With its big increase in votes, Vetevendosje sees a number of new names entering Parliament. One is spokeperson Frasher Krasniqi, despite having been listed 58th on Vetevendosje’s candidate list. He was placed on the candidate list alongside three other activists that have been charged with terrorist threats against Kosovo’s Assembly. His victory makes Krasniqi the first deputy in the Assembly to have been officially accused of terrorism.
The Mayor of Prishtina, Shpend Ahmeti, won Vetevendosje’s second-highest number of votes, behind Albin Kurti, who secured the most votes of any candidate in the election. Ahmeti is expected to surrender his seat, given that he cannot take it alongside the position he already holds as mayor; he has hinted that he will once again be the party’s mayoral candidate for the capital in the local elections that will be held in October.
Several of LDK’s new recruits before the election campaign, such as Lumir Abdixhiku and Driton Selmanaj, have also managed to secure seats.
One of Vetevendosje’s central figures, Dardan Molliqaj, who is currently the party’s Secretary General, ran for a seat in this year’s elections for the first time and came third within the party, ahead of leader Visar Ymeri, and co-founder and leader of Vetevendosje’s parliamentary group, Glauk Konjufca.
Another Vetevendosje candidate running for the first time, and winning a seat, was Dukagjin Gorani; the newly elected deputy previously served as an advisor to Hashim Thaci during his time as Kosovo’s prime minister and his Vetevendosje candidacy has received much media attention given the tensions between his party and Thaci, in addition to Gorani’s personal relations with the now-president.
The LAA coalition candidate list created plenty of controversy when it was announced, due to suspicion that critics within LDK had been removed, as well as Vjosa Osmani being placed down in 81st position. Osmani is known as one of the loudest internal critics of her party, particularly for her outspoken stance on the coalition government that LDK formed with PDK in 2014. Despite her rank, Osmani still managed to acquire more than 60,000 votes, the second-highest number within her party.
Several of LDK’s new recruits before the election campaign, such as Lumir Abdixhiku and Driton Selmanaj, have also managed to secure seats. They are among the five most voted for deputies within the LAA coalition. Meanwhile Naser Osmani, who has been indicted for the illegal privatization of the FAN factory in Podujevo — which is suspected to have damaged the state budget by millions of euros — failed to retain his seat. Of those LDK deputies that stood for reelection, he is the only candidate that did not secure enough votes to return.
Former president Behxhet Pacolli has managed to return to the Assembly, after his AKR party failed to pass the electoral threshold in the 2014 elections. Another of AKR’s four seats will be taken by the turbo-folk singer Labinot Tahiri.
The remaining 20 seats in the 120 Assembly are reserved for minority representatives, with 10 Serbs, including nine from the Belgrade-backed Lista Srpska, but not leader Slavko Simic, who failed to win a seat. There will also be three Bosniak representatives, two Turks, two Ashkali, and one representative each from the Roma, Egyptian and Gorani communities.K
Feature image: Agan Kosumi / K2.0.