The early parliamentary elections in Pristina, Kosovo, held on 6 October this year, confirmed predictions of the majority of Pristina analysts who claimed that founder of the opposition party ‘Self-determination’ (Vetevendosje), Mr Albin Kurti, would be Kosovo’s likely next prime minister. Kurti’s party hailed its victory in parliamentary election in Kosovo winning 25.49 per cent of the voters cast, ousting the once dominant Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, which came in third place after the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, writes Pobjeda daily.
And while many observers interpret the victory of political parties and leaders whose biographies are not burdened with either criminal affairs or suspicion of war crimes as proof of the maturity of Kosovo society, the authorities in Belgrade are not thrilled with the fact they will have to negotiate with the Vetevendosje leader Mr Kurti in the near future, as Mr Kurti himself, before the election, had announced that his government would have no place for the Srpska Lista party, describing it as an extended arm of “Belgrade’s hegemonic politics.”
Meanwhile in Kosovo – things are getting complicated. Kosovo’s Election Complaints and Appeals Panel, ECAP, decided to accept the complaint submitted by the NISMA-AKR-PD coalition (consisting of three parties, NISMA -Social Democratic Initiative, the New Kosovo Alliance – AKR and the Justice Party – PD), and has ordered the Central Election Commission to remove from the final election result the ballots of voters from Serbia. However, in the end it turns out that this gesture won’t affect the Belgrade-backed Srpska Lista party but rather the Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) party, which is going to lose three seats in the Kosovo Assembly at the recount.
Serbia’s President, Mr Aleksandar Vučić, commenting on this whole matter simply noted: “The NISMA-AKR-PD coalition convinced Mr Albin Kurti that the actions were taken against Serbia and Serbs, but actually everything was done against him. In the end, Mr Kurti turned out to be naïve and inexperienced.”
On the other hand, Kosovo early parliamentary election winner, leader of the Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) party and future prime minister of Kosovo, in an interview for Pobjeda daily, says no math or any other recount of election votes would change the final parliamentary election result in Kosovo.
When asked to tell about the principles of the future Kosovo govt, Mr Kurti said: “The program we have harmonized and aligned so far, among other things, envisages that the new government of Kosovo has no more than twelve ministries, a maximum of two deputies per minister and at least 30 per cent of women. This phase of the agreement ended up very successfully, and we will discuss the division of the ministry in the coming period. I think it is also a logical order of things, which implies that the names of the candidates for the main functions come in the end. “
On the priorities of his government, he noted: “Our political agenda is based on three key pillars: justice, economic development and social protection. In order to achieve this, our priorities will be the fight against corruption and organized crime, economic development based on production and higher employment, institutional strengthening of the rule of law, quality health care system and education, the fight against poverty through social policies, etc.”
As for the integration of Serbs in Kosovo’s society, Mr Kurti told: “We will start talks with all minorities in Kosovo, which involves an open, democratic and social dialogue on the development of our society. For me it’s important that the new government has a representative of Serbs from Kosovo, not representatives of Serbia. The new government will not depend politically on Srpska Lista party.”
Commenting on the claims of the authorities from Belgrade that the Constitution of Kosovo would be violated if only the new Prime Minister did not include Srpska Lista as a future partner in Kosovo’s government, the likely new PM of Kosovo was adamant: “Instead of worrying so much about the Kosovo Constitution, the Belgrade authorities should change their own constitution, which still says Kosovo is part of Serbia. But let me answer you directly! The Constitution of Kosovo really stipulates that the government can have ministers from minority nations, with the consent and approval of representatives of those minority nations in the Assembly of Kosovo.”
Mr Kurti continued: “Aleksandar Vučić is the political successor of Slobodan Milošević, just as Milošević was the political successor of Aleksandar Ranković. As a man who essentially belongs to the same historical line of Serbian expansionist politics, Vučić was logically minister of information during the Milošević regime. Vučić is exactly like Milošević just using other means. In that context, it would be unrealistic to expect him to be delighted with the new government of Kosovo, which will be the government of all its citizens; a govt without corruption; a govt that you will not be able to blackmail; that will be able to establish mutual relations at the bilateral level; a govt that will be socially and economically progressive.”
On the continuation of the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue and the USA’s pressure to accelerate the negotiations, here’s what he said: “I don’t think we need the acceleration of negotiations right now. Why? Because any rush and urgent agreement additionally worsen the current situation. Moreover, the history has taught us that many inter-state conflicts started due to bad agreements and not because of the lack of deals. In this sense, our priority should be to have talks over results of the previous agreements and see what we should do. In addition, we need a dialogue with Brussels to discuss the one with Serbia, which means that we also must be well-prepared for this.
“I will be leading the Kosovo negotiation team which is going to include members of the govt, oppositions and independent experts. This team will negotiate with Serbia based on the platform for dialogue, which is supposed to be adopted in the Kosovo Assembly before any negotiation.”
As for the potential dismissal of the President of Kosovo, Mr Kurti said: “Although we might not have enough votes to carry out this idea, I think Thaci’s political career is about to end. Thaci had two years for his own, that is, for Vučić’s idea of exchanging territory. Instead of leading the people of Kosovo, he staged the largest protest in post-war Kosovo against himself on 29 September 2018, under the motto: ‘The people won’t surrender to one man’.
I will talk to PM Marković, I believe in Montenegro’s trust
“The relations between Kosovo and Montenegro are very good. We appreciate Montenegro’s position on Kosovo’s independence, as well as support for our integration into international institutions. We didn’t forget that Montenegro accepted Albanian refugees during the war in the 1990s. I sincerely believe in the upgrade of our good bilateral relations,“ said Mr Kurti.