Lately | Democracy

Opposition rise as Kosovars punish ruling parties

By - 12.06.2017

This is a live story that is being updated.

Preliminary results in Kosovo’s election yesterday (June 11), show a big increase in votes for opposition party Vetevendosje (VV), and losses for the parties previously in government. Initial results suggest that the coalition made up of PDK, AAK and Nisma (PAN) will rank in first place, while VV look set to overtake former Prime Minister Isa Mustafa’s LDK in second.

Around 40 percent of registered Kosovar voters gave their verdict on who they want to govern their country, voting in the snap general election called after the previous government was dissolved when a motion of no confidence passed in the Assembly.

According to preliminary results published by the Central Electoral Commission, with more than 99.64 percent of votes counted the citizens of Kosovo have given the most votes to the coalition known as ‘PAN,’ who have received around 34.02 percent of the votes. In 2014, PDK received 31.38 percent of the votes standing alone.

Vetevendosje has received 27.07 percent of the votes counted so far, surpassing LDK as the second most voted for party. The latter has received 25.71 percent of the vote, which would push it into third place.

When voting ended on Sunday at 19:00, officials from different parties started to report about “good” news that was coming in from different municipalities. Later into the night, both PAN and VV went out to celebrate in Prishtina’s city center, at opposite ends of Mother Theresa Boulevard.

The PAN coalition celebrated its first placed finish in Skanderbeg Square, with candidate for prime minister Ramush Haradinaj (left) and PDK head Kadri Veseli (right) making speeches to the assembled crowd. Photo: Atdhe Mulla / K2.0.

PAN celebrated at Skanderbeg Square, with their candidate for Prime Minister, AAK’s Ramush Haradinaj, and coalition partner PDK’s Kadri Veseli making appearances. Haradinaj labelled yesterday’s elections as a victory for Kosovo, saying that the people trusted the PDK-AAK-Nisma coalition. “I know that a lot of work is expected from us,” Haradinaj announced.

Veseli was more vocal than Haradinaj — who he referred to as “the next prime minister of Kosovo” — announcing that Kosovo had decided for a “New Beginning,” referring to PAN’s slogan for this year’s elections. “We will also work for those that didn’t vote for us,” Veseli stated.

Vetevendosje also held a public celebration in Prishtina, with candidate for prime minister Albin Kurti telling his supporters that the party’s huge rise in votes was a victory for courage over fear. Photo: Agan Kosumi / K2.0.

Meanwhile, Vetevendosje’s candidate for prime minister, Albin Kurti, described his party receiving more votes than any single political party as “a triumph of courage over fear, of hope over desperation.”

Vetevendosje, running alone, won a much higher percentage of votes compared to other parties at over 26 percent. “One coalition with 16 parties, another with six-seven parties, and they’ve still declined considerably compared to the 2014 elections. VV is now the first and biggest party in Kosovo,” Kurti stated to a large crowd in Zahir Pajaziti Square, a few hundred meters away from the PAN celebrations.

In a Facebook post commenting on the night’s events, head of LDK, Isa Mustafa sounded disappointed but realistic. His political partly suffered greatly in these elections, losing their place as the second biggest party in the country.

Mustafa called the votes of June 11 ‘opposition votes’ and promised that LDK would ‘reflect’ on the results. “We will reflect in the interest of membership and citizenship. We will make a decision with our deputies and coalition partners after the results have been certified,” he said, eventually thanking LDK’s candidate for prime minister Avdullah Hoti for a dignified campaign.

While both PAN and Vetevendosje celebrated, it was a more sombre night for LDK and their candidate for prime minister, Avdullah Hoti. Photo: Agan Kosumi / K2.0.

According to the Central Election Commission (CEC) 50,063 votes counted so far have been invalid, while 29,038 of the total were conditional votes (a vote which a person can cast in another polling station, in the case that he/she has no physical possibility to go to the voting poll where he/she is registered). The final results of votes coming from the diaspora are yet to be announced.

The state prosecution and the police, in a joint press conference held last night at 21:00, announced that on Sunday up until 20:00 in the territory of the Republic of Kosovo there were a handful of incidents involving criminal acts related to violations of the right to vote — eight cases against eight persons have been filed.K

Feature image: Agan Kosumi / K2.0.