Kosovo is a country located in the region of Eastern Europe. After a new election and four months of government negotiations, Kosovo was given a new government in February 2020. But major contradictions, among other things, about how the corona crisis was to be handled, contributed to the government’s collapse soon and in early June another new coalition government was formed. It is led by Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti from the right-wing party LDK.
In the elections held in October 2019, the Albanian nationalist and wait-oriented Vetëvendosje unexpectedly became the largest party, closely followed by LDK. Together, both parties received half of the vote and almost half of the parliamentary mandate. Thus, the road was open to form a government without PDK, the party that led all governments since Kosovo’s independence in 2008 (see Modern History and Political System).
- Countryaah: Country facts and history of Kosovo, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
Vetëvendosje and LDK tried to form government together, with the support of a somewhat smaller party, but the attempts dragged on over time. The parties had difficulty in agreeing primarily on who would receive the presidential post when the current term expires in April 2021 (see Calendar). Finally, following the threat of yet another new election, Vetëvendosje and LDK agreed on a government formation where the issue of the presidential post was postponed in the future. Some small minority parties were also included in the government, which thus had support in Parliament.
The government took office in early February, with Vetëvendosje’s leader Albin Kurti as prime minister. Vetëvendosje is a party that had previously stood out for violent protests both on the streets and in Parliament, and which was not part of any government. Kurti is a former student leader who has been called “Kosovo’s Che Guevara” and has been in prison in Serbia for political reasons. Kurti, who opposes the settlements that have been concluded with Serbia since 2011, was something of a red-carpet in Belgrade as he has openly advocated a rapprochement with Albania.
A contradiction that created tensions in Kurti’s government was also that he refused to lift trade sanctions against Serbia introduced by the previous government, despite strong pressure from the US and the EU.
When the corona crisis broke out, the Minister of the Interior Agim Veliu advocated the introduction of emergency permits. Kurti opposed a state of emergency, which would have given the president increased powers at the prime minister’s expense. The result was that Kurti kicked Veliu, whose party LDK then announced a vote of no confidence (see further Calendar).
Kurti then tried to get another election, but failed when the Constitutional Court stopped. On the day four months after Kurti’s entry, Avdullah Hoti was able to take office. He leads a government with three smaller parties and support in Parliament by representatives of ethnic parties (see Calendar).
The fall 2019 election was announced in advance since the then Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj the summer before announcing his departure after being called to interrogation by war criminal prosecutors in The Hague. Prosecutors wanted to hear Haradinaj, former leader of the UÇK guerrilla movement, about suspected crimes during the war in Kosovo 1998-1999. Haradinaj has previously been prosecuted by the UN Criminal Tribunal, but released in the absence of evidence (see Democracy and Rights).
President since 2016 is Hashim Thaçi, also he a former guerrilla leader in UÇK. Thaçi, who was Prime Minister from 2008 to 2014 has his background in PDK but is formally independent as head of state. In June 2020, it was announced that he had been prosecuted by the Special Prosecutor of Kosovo set up in The Hague to investigate war crimes during the war (see Calendar and Democracy and Rights).
Follow the ongoing development of the Calendar.
FACTS – POLITICS
Republic of Kosovo / Republic of Kosovo / Republic of Kosovo
Head of State
President Hashim Thaçi (2016–)
Head of government
Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti (2020–)
Most important parties with mandates in the last election
Vetëvendosje 29, LDK 28, PDK 24, AAK 13, Serbian list 10, Nisma-AKR-PD 6, other 10 (2019)
Main parties with mandates in the second most recent elections
alliance PDK – AAK – Nisma 39, Vetëvendosje 32, alliance LDK – AKR – Alternative 29, Serbian list 9, rest 11 (2017)
45% in the 2019 parliamentary elections
parliamentary elections 2023; the president is elected indirectly by Parliament (next time 2021)
The prime minister is appointed as league leader
In a report, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe points out Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi as leader of a mafia-like league, the Drenica Group. It must have consisted of prominent men in the guerrilla movement UÇK, the Kosovo Liberation Army, which Thaçi led in the late 1990s. The report shows testimony about murders, tortures and other atrocities that occurred in the guerrilla prison camps against Serbs and Roma. Thaçi and his party describe the charges as slanderous. Kosovo’s acting president Jakup Krasniqi also dismisses the allegations, but requests that they be investigated. The report of the Council of Europe also addresses Serbian war crimes.
PDK wins the parliamentary elections
The ruling PDK wins with 33.5 percent of the vote, followed by 23.6 percent for LDK. The new party Vetëvendosje (Self-determination) takes 12.2 percent. LDK accuses PDK of election fraud. The opposition demands that parts of the election be redone, and the electoral authority decides that re-election should be held in five locations, including Thais’s home town.
The government is falling
The government is cast in a vote of no confidence, and new elections are announced in December.
The President resigns
President Fatmir Sejdiu resigns after the Constitutional Court ruled that he violated the Constitution when he, as president, remained as chairman of LDK, one of the government parties. In an attempt to resolve the political crisis, the acting president, Jakup Krasniqi, announced a new parliamentary election in February. But the decision on re-election comes as a surprise to parts of the government, and Sejdius LDK leaves the coalition. New leader of LDK becomes Prishtina’s mayor Isa Mustafa.
Kosovo’s declaration of independence not illegal
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled in a ruling that Kosovo’s declaration of independence was not illegal under international law.
Haradinaj again in court
The UN War Criminal Tribunal in The Hague decides that Kosovo’s former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj will again face trial for war crimes, as there were threats against witnesses during the trial against him in 2008 which ended with his acquittal.
Serbian local elections in northern Kosovo
Serbs hold local elections in two districts of northern Kosovo where they dominate. The election triggers new unrest in Mitrovica.
The Albanian-dominated police take over
An important step in the transfer of powers from the NATO-led international force to local authorities occurs when the Kosovo police, dominated by Albanians, take over the guarding of the politically sensitive monument on the Serbian historic land of the Trast field (Kosovo police). The surrender raises upset feelings in Serbia and Belgrade criticizes the decision.