The coalition of former ethnic Albanian rebel commanders won the most votes Sunday in Kosovo’s general election, which also saw a surge in popularity for a nationalist party, according to preliminary results. The ex-rebels came in first with around 35 percent of the vote. The nationalist Self-Determination Movement was neck-and-neck with the coalition led by former Prime Minister Isa Mustafa, which had around 26 percent each after the counting of about 70 percent of the votes, according to Democracy in Action, a monitoring group. No group can govern alone and coalitions will be likely.
The new Cabinet will have a tough job in resolving several thorny issues, including the border demarcation deal with Montenegro. The approval of another agreement with Serbia giving more rights to the ethnic Serb minority, and the continuation of fraught talks with Belgrade, which denies Kosovo’s existence as a state, were also key concerns.
Ramush Haradinaj, whom the leading coalition has nominated to be prime minister, hailed Kosovars “for the trust given to the coalition,” adding “these are the best elections ever held” in Kosovo.