Kosovo: Kurti and Osmani win landslide victory in snap election

Kosovo: Kurti and Osmani win landslide victory in snap election

A new record in Kosovo’s parliamentary history was set by the Vetëvendosje Movement, led by Albin Kurti, in the February 14 snap election. The party, which first run in an election in 2010, and with more than 90 percent of the vote counted, received more votes than former President Ibrahim Rugova’s LDK party in the first two elections. The LDK at that time had won 45.7% (2001) and 45.42% (2004). After 20 years, the Vetëvendosje Movement (LVV) won 47.69% or 320 thousand votes with more than 90% of the polling stations integrated. Vjosa Osmani’s list was also part of the coalition with LVV, after parting ways with he LDK last year.

Historically low percentages were recorded by the parties that had ruled the country for the past two decades, with the LVV receiving more votes than the PDK, LDK and AAK combined.

Based on the recorded results, PDK won 17.36%, LDK 13.41% and AAK 7.45%. Fatmir Limaj’s initiative failed to exceed the threshold to gain parliamentary representation, remaining at 3%.

So far, few votes have been counted from the Diaspora, which may change the final result.

The Vetëvendosje Movement emerged as the leading force in most of the large municipalities, such as Pristina, Podujeva, Prizren, Gjilan, Ferizaj, Peja and Gjakova.

The PDK managed to maintain its strongholds in Skenderaj and Drenas, while the LDK failed to win in any municipality, failing even in its strongholds.

The turnout reached 45.06%, as the pandemic and the bad weather conditions that prevailed in the country were a deterrent.

About an hour after the closing of the polls and the publication of the exit polls, which was won by the Vetëvendosje Movement, supporters of the Movement came out to celebrate in the streets of the cities of Prishtina, Gjilan, Gjakova, Lipjan, despite the call of the Movement executives to remain in their homes due to the risk of the pandemic.

Vetëvendosje Movement President Albin Kurti, who did not have the right to run for parliament, addressed the people shortly before midnight as the soon to be Prime Minister through a press conference with the presidential candidate, Vjosa Osmani.

“Kosovo today voted for a bright future. You voted today, and your voice was heard like never before. We have been waiting for this day, but your vote brought about the long-awaited and desired change. We know the great weight of the responsibility we have as a result of the great trust you have given us. In this respect, trust will be our guide, the responsibility we have taken on is a great honor. In no case is it an order of revenge or retaliation. It is the mandate of the work that will be done, where we guarantee prosperity, the fight against corruption, the fight with great zeal for equality”, Osmani said.

“This referendum on justice, labor and the occupation of the state and corruption has been won. This is unprecedented in post-war Kosovo. A new day begins tomorrow. This big win is just the opportunity to start the change. The road ahead is long, we will have obstacles and make some mistakes, but our goal is noble. We will not take revenge on anyone, but we will demand responsibility towards everyone”, said Kurti, who could not lead the LVV list and be replaced due to his sentence from 2018.

“This is not a victory for me and Vetëvendosje, but it is your victory. This victory will be remembered by future generations as the day the divisions were overcome”, he stressed.

Democratic Party Deputy Chairman Enver Hoxhaj admitted defeat in a statement, but made it clear that they would not join the next government.

Kosovo Democratic League candidate Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti claimed responsibility for the defeat, saying the results were different from what he expected.

Following this result, LDK President Isa Mustafa announced changes but it was not clear whether he would resign.

AAK President Ramush Haradinaj said he expected the result to bring them as a fourth force in the Assembly, congratulating the LVV Movement on its victory.

There was no surprise in the Serb community, where the Serb List managed to win all the municipalities it leads, in some of them by more than 90 per cent. In Zvecan it won with 92%, in Zubin-Potok with 90%, in Leposavic with 78% and in North Mitrovica 62%. Victory with over 50 percent has been recorded in the municipalities south of Ibar-Strpce, Gracanica, Kllokot, Partesh and Novo Brdo.

According to the evaluation of the institutions, but also of the non-governmental organizations, the process was conducted in a free and democratic spirit. There were some irregularities, but they did not violate the integrity of the elections.

Representatives of foreign diplomatic missions in Pristina congratulated the institutions on the conduct of the elections, while they were active during the day, calling on citizens to exercise their right to vote, despite the difficulties created by the snowfall./ibna