Clear victory for the opposition in Kosovo

Albin Kurti of the left-wing nationalist Vetëvendosje ("Self-Determination") party has won the snap election in Kosovo with 48 percent of the vote. The long-standing ruling party PDK, which emerged from the civil war militia UÇK, secured just 17 percent. Commentators voice doubts that Kurti will be able to make good on his election promise of ending the rampant corruption in the country.

Open/close all quotes
Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Personal integrity is not enough

The majority of Kosovars said goodbye to the old guard with a protest vote, the Tages-Anzeiger writes:

“These leaders turned the state into a self-service shop, created a climate of complete impunity, and lost touch with the people due to the arrogance with which they wielded power. Will Kurti end this skewed political culture? He has personal integrity - and that's a good start. ... But that alone will hardly be enough to reverse the trend. What the presumed prime minister-in-waiting needs is experienced managers who can govern efficiently. So far, Kurti has mainly surrounded himself with out-and-out yes-men .... With his promise that he will mercilessly fight corruption and crime, the 45-year-old has raised great expectations.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Kurti can succeed with the help of Kosovars living abroad

The election marks a turning point, but Kurti faces a difficult task, Neue Zürcher Zeitung believes:

“He promised work and justice, and that got him elected. But where is he supposed to create jobs if not in the public service sector, just like his corrupt predecessors? And how can the rule of law be strengthened with poorly paid judges who are vulnerable to pressure from the powerful? ... Kurti has a strong ally: the Kosovars living abroad. ... Many of them still care about their old homeland. With their economic competence and their political experience, they have a lot to offer Kosovo. So far, however, there was simply no one they could contact in Pristina ... With Kurti, they believe, things will now be different.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Turbulence will ensue

The election result makes Kosovo a European issue again, writes the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

“In recent years the Europeans have mainly tried to avoid any additional work with Kosovo. The future prime minister Albin Kurti will disturb this calm. If his announcements of a radical battle against corruption are followed by deeds, this will likely lead to political turbulence. For experiences in other countries teach us that the beneficiaries of corrupt networks won't accept their business being endangered without putting up a fight. And Kurti's political track record shows that he does not avoid conflict.”