Albin Kurti: Act Two!

Kosovo's new government faces major challenges
Kosovo Parlament

This time it is supposed to last longer. The first government under Prime Minister Albin Kurti (46) lasted just 52 days a year ago before it was brought down by a vote of no confidence by the coalition partner LDK.

Now Kosovo's "eternal rebel" has once again taken over the reins of power in the country, which was badly shaken by the Corona crisis, after a brilliant election victory and thus a much better chance than a year ago. It is the first time in Kosovo's post-war parliamentary period that a political party has won almost half of the seats in parliament: 58 out of 120 parliamentary mandates.

The formation of the government took place more quickly than observers had expected. The cabinet will consist of 3 deputy prime ministers and 15 ministers.

It was not supported by Srpska Lista, the main Kosovo Serb party, which sought two ministerial posts in the cabinet instead of one as presented by Kurti. The leader of Srpska Lista's parliamentary group, Igor Simic, said they would take the matter to the Constitutional Court.

However, the challenges facing the country, as well as the expectations of its supporters, have grown once again. Some are already asking whether this will not be a "mission impossible".

Next hurdle: presidential election

This has not least to do with the fact that this parliament will soon have to elect a new president in a maximum of three rounds of voting.

The ex-LDK politician and parliamentary leader, Vjosa Osmani, whose new initiative Guxo (Dare) ran in the elections on a joint list with Vetevendosje and was second on the list of candidates for the deputies, is seeking the office of president.

A two-thirds majority of MPs is required to elect the president in Kosovo, but so far it is open whether Osmani, a close ally of Kurti, will be able to gather enough votes.

Opposition parties have already spoken out against Osmani's candidacy for the presidency.

It remains to be seen whether the former student leader and long-time extra-parliamentary activist has also learned from his own mistakes - he is neither considered diplomatic nor a particularly good team player.

Government goals

In any case, the newly elected prime minister and leader of the left-wing nationalist Vetevendosje (VV) vowed to be the prime minister of "all citizens".

As central goals of his government, he named the fight against unemployment, the creation of rule-of-law conditions as well as the vaccination of 60% of the population by the end of the year: "We will not lose any time."

He pointed out that Kosovo's foreign policy direction is clear - the alliance with the United States and transatlantic cooperation will deepen: "The path to EU integration may be challenging, but there is no alternative for Kosovo," Kurti said.

At least, thanks to the clear election victory and the non-Serbian minorities, he is not dependent on the old parties or the Belgrade-controlled Serbian List for his plans.

In any case, there is unlikely to be much movement in the deadlocked dialogue with Serbia before the presidential and parliamentary elections there in a year's time.