Kosovo leaders will be competing aggressively for votes in the last few days of the election campaign, partly because the outcome is unusually unpredictable.
The shortest election campaign in Kosovo’s history will end on Friday midnight – but experts warn that the battle for power is likely to become harsher in the final days.
Shpend Kursani, a political expert, said the campaign would likely get tougher, precisely because the outcome of the election was so uncertain.
‘This might be the roughest of all the general elections we have had because the battle for power has never been so uncertain as it is now,’ he said.
Parties in fact began campaigning several weeks before the official campaign started. Hashim Thaci’s ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, was among the first.
In the last general elections in Kosovo held in 2010, the PDK won 32.11 per cent of the votes, Isa Mustafa’s Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, won 24.69 per cent, Albin Kurti’s Vetevendosje Movement gained 12.69 per cent, Ramush Haradinaj’s Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, won 11.04 per cent and Behgjet Paccolli’s Alliance New Kosovo won 7.29 per cent.
Kusani said Thaci was “in a panic because he does not know if his party will come first, as he had expected’.
Nisma per Kosoven (Initiative for Kosovo), a new party established just ahead of the elections by PDK defectors Fatmir Limaj and Jakup Krasniqi, according to Kursani, has also dented Thaci’s popularity.
The PDK also lost crucial votes in the last local elections held last November, while the LDK gained much more votes nationwide although it lost power in the capital, Pristina.
Behlul Beqaj, professor of political science, said ‘leaders of the two main political parties [PDK and LDK] are tense because the defeat of either of them would weaken their role as party leaders and might even force them to step down’.
The situation looks totally different when it comes up to the nationalistic Vetevendosje Movement.
Kursani said it felt confident, as party chief Kurti does not aim to take over government this time, but wants to remain in opposition and strengthen his party’s position there.
Some 30 parties with a total of 1,235 candidates are running for the June 8 polls, while more than 1.78 million people have the right to vote.