Major political change in Kosovo after elections
The political landscape in Kosovo appears to be undergoing rapid change after Sunday's parliamentary elections. The coalition of former UÇK rebels lost ten percentage points and leads only by a narrow margin, not large enough for a governing majority. Support for the left-nationalist party Vetevendosje, by contrast, doubled and it is now the second-strongest party. What do these results mean for the country and the Balkans?
A warning for the EU
The success of the Vetevendosje movement is also a protest vote against Brussels, the Süddeutsche Zeitung believes:
“The Kosovans are disappointed that Brussels and Berlin want to bring Serbia into the EU even before Belgrade relinquishes its claim to their country. Serbia's autocratic president and de facto head of government Aleksandar Vučić is being courted by the EU and the German government despite the fact that for years he's refused to introduce a truly progressive Kosovo policy and recently he even evoked the danger of a new war. And there's no sign of him mending his ways. Voters in Kosovo have now expressed their displeasure with this state of affairs. That will not make the region any more stable.”
Kosovo needs change
Now it's time for the controversial party Vetevendosje to shoulder its responsibilities and get down to the business of governing the country, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung demands:
“Three years ago the West torpedoed a government in which Vetevendosje participated out of concern for the country's stability. This is certainly a legitimate concern with a coalition led by Vetevendosje, but the party deserves a chance. Such a coalition is the lesser evil in the current situation, if only because it clearly has more democratic legitimation than the coalition of commanders, and unlike them it's not corrupt. In any case in Pristina, where it controls the city hall, it has satisfied voters with its pragmatic policies. Now that it has a position of responsibility it must show whether - unlike the rest of the elite - it can put the country on the path to progress.”
The fruit of love between the US and the UÇK?
The former rebels who narrowly won the elections may have received help from the US, Delo points out:
“For many, the victory of the war coalition in Kosovo and the new governing cabinet in Macedonia - where the erstwhile paramilitary leaders of the rebel organisation UÇK also emerged stronger from the election - testifies to US meddling. They believe the love between the US and the UÇK has reached maturity, and the consequence will be two UÇK governments in the Balkans. Although the UÇK has always been part of the government in Priština and Skopje - last but not least due to the open interference on Tirana's part - the threat of greater Albanian tendencies is once more being evoked. This is a consequence of the fact that the international community is growing weaker and weaker.”