PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo’s left-wing main opposition party has obtained a clear victory in an early election held amid the coronavirus pandemic, an financial downturn and stalled negotiations with wartime foe Serbia.
With 98% of the votes counted Monday, the Determination Movement Party had 48% reinforce. That left it a long way before the heart-sincere Democratic Party of Kosovo, or PDK, which obtained 17% and the conservative governing Democratic League of Kosovo, or LDK, which captured 13% of the vote.
Voters in Sunday’s election got here out despite minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) temperatures and snowstorm. Turnout turned into as soon as 47%, or 2.5% increased than the 2019 election, according to the Central Election Commission.
Determination Movement chief Albin Kurti, who’s predicted to alter into the following high minister, faces the challenges of reviving the sad nation’s financial system and reducing unemployment, as properly as fighting the pandemic, organized crime and corruption.
“We obtained this referendum for justice and jobs, against order preserve close and corruption,” mentioned Kurti leisurely Sunday. “Our priority is justice and jobs.”
The victory, on the other hand, could presumably well moreover simply no longer give Kurti the specified 61 seats in the 120-seat parliament to device a Cabinet on his gain. He made it clear there could presumably well be no coalition with the main losing opponents.
Kosovo’s Serb minority has 10 seats in parliament and 10 varied seats belong to varied minorities.
Negotiations on normalizing ties with Serbia, which stalled again final yr after talks brokered by the U.S. and the European Union, did no longer determine high on the winning party’s agenda. Kurti mentioned forming a negotiating group for dialogue would no longer be a priority.
Independent analyst Donika Emini called on Kurti now to now not manual away from the talks with Serbia but to “be extra sensitive, extra proactive” with Kosovo’s political neighborhood as properly because the international community.
European Union foreign protection chief Josep Borrell and Expansion Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi told Kosovo to almost at present create the contemporary parliament, authorities and elect the president and come reforms, pledging continuous Brussels’ reinforce.
“Kosovo’s European direction also goes via the total normalization of household with Serbia,” their issue mentioned.
Kosovo is seeking to finally enter the 27-nation EU and has signed with Brussels a stabilization settlement, the principle step in direction of membership.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a decade after a brutal 1998-1999 warfare between separatist ethnic Albanian rebels and Serb forces. The warfare ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign drove Serb troops out and a peacekeeping drive moved in.
Most Western nations dangle identified Kosovo, but Serbia and its allies Russia and China produce no longer. Tensions over Kosovo remain a source of volatility in the Balkans.
Within two months of taking their seats, Kosovo’s lawmakers have to elect the country’s president. If no candidate is elected after three rounds of voting, the country could maybe be compelled to maintain one other early parliamentary election.