Kosovo’s government falls, opposition ready to take over

Fri 12 May 2017

Kosovo’s government falls, opposition ready to take over

On 10 June Kosovo’s government fell when 78 out of Kosovo’s 120 parliamentarians voted in favour of a no-confidence motion. Consequently President Hashim Thaci has called snap elections that will take place on the 11th of June. The coalition government consisted of Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), party of Prime Minister Isa Mustafa, and the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), party of the Thaci. The motion was filled by an MP from the Initiative for Kosovo (NISMA), and also supported by, among others, three MPs from the government party PDK.

Prime Minister Mustafa warned that the consequence of a no-confidence vote would be "the country's destabilization through creating a lack of trust in institutions, and an institutional vacuum." The vote of no confidence doesn’t come as a big surprise as the country has been in a political crisis for over a year.

Border-Demarcation Agreement

The opposition has been demanding new elections ever since Kosovo signed a deal with the EU regarding a border-demarcation agreement with Montenegro in 2015. The agreement has to be ratified by the parliament, for the country to be allowed to benefit from visa-free travel to Europe's Schengen zone. Kosovo citizens currently need a visa if they want to visit EU-member countries.

The vote has been delayed several times in the past year as tensions regarding the issue were high; fierce demonstrations were held outside parliament, and in parliament boycotts took place. The opposition parties Vetevendosje (Self-determination), the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and the Initiative for Kosovo (NISMA) claim that the agreement would lead to a loss of Kosovar territory.

Pristina-Belgrade Agreement

Relations between Serbia and Kosovo stabilised through a 2015 Brussels-Agreement on the normalisation of their relations mediated by the EU. This however led to tensions in Kosovo's parliament with the main opposition party Vetevendosje using tear gas in parliament to express their anger over the agreement. They also organised protests in the street opposing the agreement, leading to confrontations between protesters and the police. Vetevendosje has succeeded in mobilising the young urban vote, winning the local elections in Pristina and gaining 14% of the voters at the 2014 general elections. They are the only political party of relevance that has made serious work of developing (social) policies and have a good chance of increasing their support at the snap poll and making them a key player in future government forming. The party was in this position after the 2014 parliamentary elections. The opposition agreed to form a coalition and end the long-running rule of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK). However, for the sake of stability, and after Western meddling, a coalition with the PDK was eventually formed that would continue the political dialogue with Belgrade.

Sources: Euractive, Reuters, BalkanInsight, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty