SI call to respect democracy in Kosovo

29 January 2021

The Socialist International is closely following the situation in Kosovo, where snap parliamentary elections are scheduled for 14 February. In light of recent developments, the SI would urge that all measures are taken by the electoral authorities of the country to ensure that these elections take place with full respect for the principles of democracy and the rights of all voters, candidates and political parties.

The recent years have seen significant change in the political landscape in Kosovo, with new challengers emerging to the parties that had held a grip on power. The SI-member Movement for Self Determination (Lëvizja Vetvëndosje, LVV), has steadily grown in strength since first entering parliament in 2011, and became the largest party at the most recent parliamentary elections in 2019. Polling for the upcoming election, which takes place after a court declared the election of the sitting prime minister by parliament to be illegal, shows a clear lead for LVV, which would put Albin Kurti, the party's candidate for prime minister, in a strong position to be elected to that post.

In the context of the strong public support for LVV, the recent decision by the Central Election Committee (CEC) of Kosovo to ban Albin Kurti and a number of other candidates from LVV from standing in the elections is of considerable concern. This move by the CEC, infringing on the rights of Albin Kurti and others on the LVV list to participate in the election as candidates, is in contradiction to the recommendation of the independent Office for Party Registration and Certification.

The SI calls for the obstacles that have been imposed on its member party, LVV, to be removed in order to allow the people of Kosovo to freely express their will and elect the parties and candidates of their choice. We express our solidarity with LVV and its candidates as they work to ensure that the next government of Kosovo is social democratic, and guided by the shared principles and objectives of our global movement.