Kosovo center-right coalition takes fragile lead in snap polls

DAILY SABAH WITH WIRES
Istanbul
Published

Kosovo's nationalists dominated snap parliamentary polls at the weekend but faced a nearly impossible task of building a government amid mutual animosities. The state election commission put the turnout at 41.5 percent, the lowest since 2008, with many Kosovars frustrated over the lack of economic progress and a deep level of corruption. In 2010 and 2014, it was 48 and 43 percent, respectively.

The coalition led by President Hashim Thaci's Democratic Party (PDK) won 34.7 percent of the vote, election authorities said after counting 91 percent of the ballots cast in Sunday's election.

The center-right PDK group is expected to nominate former premier and rebel commander Ramush Haradinaj, the leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), as the new prime minister. "Voters showed they trust our coalition," Haradinaj told a news conference. But Haradinaj will need an ally, and neither of the other two big political groups seem likely to form a coalition with him. Kosovo is a former Serbian province with nearly 1.8 million people, over 90 percent of whom were Kosovar Albanians. Kosovar Serbs are the country's biggest ethnic minority with a population numbering around 100,000. It declared independence on February 17, 2008, and is recognized by over 100 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany and Turkey. Serbia, Russia and China are among countries that have not yet recognized Kosovo's independence.

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