Kosovo set for two-party government coalition – final election results

FILE PHOTO: Albin Kurti, leader of the Self-Determination movement (Vetevendosje party), speaks to supporters after preliminary results of the parliamentary election in Pristina, Kosovo, October 7, 2019. REUTERS/Florion Goga/File Photo

Kosovo’s new government will comprise a core coalition of two parties previously in opposition, after final results published on Thursday from an election held last month showed they won a narrow parliamentary majority between them.

The leftist Vetevendosje (Self-determination) party got 32 seats in the 120-seat legislature and the centre-right Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) got 29, the Election Commission said.

Both parties confirmed on Thursday they will also seek to bring some or all of six groups representing Serbs, Turks, Bosniaks and other ethnic minorities into government. The groups have a combined allocation of 20 parliamentary seats.

As has been the case for all governments since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, one of the new administration’s main tasks will be to try to normalise fraught relations with its larger neighbour.

Vetevendosje and LDK – which have been in talks on harmonising their political programmes since an initial count from the Oct. 6 ballot made clear they would be the two biggest parties in parliament – have said they are ready to negotiate with Serbia.

But neither party is willing to compromise on anything that would undermine Kosovo’s independence – which Serbia has steadfastly refused to acknowledge – or its sovereignty.

Normalisation of ties would bring Kosovo closer to securing a seat at the United Nations.

Last year, Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci – whose role is largely ceremonial – and his Serb counterpart Aleksandar Vucic signalled that they might agree to a land swap to resolve bilateral territorial claims. But the plan met with strong opposition both domestically and abroad.

Last month’s national election was the fourth since Kosovo declared independence. It was called after Ramush Haradinaj resigned as prime minister following a summons for questioning by an EU-funded war crimes court that sits in The Hague.

He was quizzed over his role as one of the commanders of the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the war it fought against Serbia in 1998-99. He denies wrongdoing.

Haradinaj’s Alliance for the Future of Kosovo party got 14 seats in the election and its former coalition partner, the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), got 25.

Under Kosovan law, Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti – as head of the biggest party – will be mandated to become prime minister in the new government.