Kosovo’s political landscape looks set for a change, with the two largest opposition parties from the last Assembly clearly ahead of their rivals.
With 100% of regular votes in the extraordinary parliamentary elections counted*, the preliminary results from the Central Election Commission (CEC) has Vetëvendosje (VV) on 25.5% of the vote, slightly ahead of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) on 24.8%.
While the final votes were still being counted on election night, VV’s party leader, Albin Kurti, declared victory, saying that the result was a “national celebration,” ahead of a celebration with supporters in Prishtina’s Skanderbeg Square.
LDK’s prime ministerial candidate Vjosa Osmani told a press conference that with the results so close, it would not be possible to determine who had won until all votes had been counted.
The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), which has been in government since 2007, has received 21.2% and has conceded that it looks set for a period in opposition. “Citizens have given their verdict and we accept it,” said party leader Kadri Veseli.
The coalition between outgoing Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj’s party, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), and the Social Democratic Party (PSD) is in fourth place on 11.6%.
Belgrade-backed Srpska Lista (Serb List) has once again dominated the vote for Serb parties and is in fifth place in the overall vote count, with no other Serb party getting more than a few hundred votes.
Much may well depend on the final vote share of the coalition between NISMA and the New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) and whether it meets the 5% threshold that is required to secure Assembly deputies. If they don’t achieve the 5% threshold, LDK and VV would likely be able to secure an overall majority — of at least 61 out of the 120 Assembly seats — by going into coalition together.
VV and LDK have both said that if they were to come first they would attempt to form a coalition government with the other; an attempt by the parties to form a pre-election coalition failed as they were unable to agree on who their combined prime ministerial candidate would be.
The party that secures the most votes, once the results are certified by the CEC is invited by the president to form a government. If they fail to do so within 15 days, the president should consult with the parties and coalitions, before nominating a different candidate for prime minister within 10 days.
The results so far do not include votes from the diaspora. A record number of diaspora voters are thought to have voted in this election, with more than 35,000 diaspora voter applications having been approved by CEC — in the last election in 2017, there were just 5,000 successfully registered diaspora voters.
Overall turnout in Sunday’s election was 44% of the 1.9 million registered voters, which represents the highest turnout since 2010.K
Editor’s note: This article was updated periodically after publishing to give the latest vote share percentages as the counting of regular votes was still in process.
Feature image: Atdhe Mulla / K2.0.