Kosovo’s snap parliamentary elections on June 11, 2017, have offered the country an opportunity to move past recent political impasses and reorient political institutions to the pressing needs of its citizens. Continuing a pattern of extraordinary elections, these elections were precipitated by a long-running political crisis set off by the previous parliamentary election, in June 2014. A six-month deadlock over forming the new government led to opposition protests in parliament, some of which turned violent. The crisis slowly ebbed by summer 2016, but not before it punctured an already low level of public confidence in political institutions to deal with such critical issues as corruption, economic opportunity, education and healthcare.
Talk of snap parliamentary elections increased this year as the ruling coalition of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), which was never completely unified in the best of circumstances, grew increasingly unstable and proved unable to pass controversial legislation needed to advance Kosovo’s Euroatlantic aspirations. This included two international agreements: a border demarcation agreement with Montenegro and the Brussels-brokered agreement on establishing the Association of Serb Municipalities. The PDK joined opposition parties in supporting a vote of no-confidence in its own government in May, paving the way for former prime minister and PDK leader Hashim Thaci, now Kosovo’s president, to call early parliamentary elections with an extraordinarily brief 10-day campaign period.
The results saw both PDK and Vetevendosje (VV) claiming victory, with a PDK-led coalition taking the highest number of seats at 39, and VV substantially increasing its mandates to 32 from 16 in previous elections of 2014. The LDK-led coalition will take 29 seats in the Assembly of Kosovo, while among the Kosovar Serb parties, Srpska List Party will have nine members of parliament and Independent Liberal Party will have one.