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Kommersant.ru: The Opposition wins in Kosovo
According to the results of the snap parliamentary elections Sunday in Kosovo, the opposition Self-Determination Party and the Democratic Union of Kosovo (DSK) received the most votes.
The Self-Determination Party leader Albin Kurti declared victory and announced the start of talks with DSK to form a government. Kosovo’s new authorities are expected to resume negotiations with Serbia to normalize relations. Kommersant’s correspondent for the Balkans, Gennady Sisoev, details.
Self-determination leader Albin Kurti announced his victory at a rally to his supporters Monday night. By then, the CEC had announced the preliminary results of Sunday’s vote:
The Self-determination party received about 26% of the vote, the Democratic Union of Kosovo – about 25%. This means that both parties that were in opposition became the winners in the Kosovo elections. The Democratic Party in Kosovo, which has been ruling for the past 11 years, close to President Hashim Thaci, is gaining about 21%, while former Prime Minister Ramush Haradin’s “Alliance for the Future of Kosovo” is below 12%.
Albin Kurti has announced she will be Kosovo’s new prime minister and promised on Monday to start talks with DSK on forming a government. According to the Kosovo Constitutional Court, a mandate is given to form the government to the party that won the most votes in the election.
Even before the Kosovo elections, in Europe the winners were expected to be “Self-determination” and DSK. The two parties are led by new wave politicians unrelated to the Serb-Albanian armed conflict in the 1990s and to its many war crimes.
The Kosovo elections are intended to unblock talks frozen for nearly a year between Belgrade and Pristina to normalize relations.
The new generation of Kosovo politicians is clearly more likely to make progress than those related to military action and crimes. Although the latter lost the election, they control the power structures, including illegal paramilitary groups, which will allow them to intervene whenever their interests are threatened.
The new generation of Kosovo politicians will face believers in the old approach on the Serbian side, which is neither a good sign nor a prerequisite for success.
In Moscow, the change of power at the top in Kosovo is welcome news as that could help establish direct contacts – unofficial with Pristina – that would allow them to try to play a higher profile mediating role. Russia will continue to refuse to recognize Kosovo.