PRISTINA -- Kosovo’s leftist-nationalist Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) party and the center-right Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) have started coalition talks following this weekend’s general elections.
"Without wasting time we have started talks with the common idea of a more efficient government and a stronger state," Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti said on October 10, adding that the expectations of Kosovo's citizens are "very high."
LDK's prime minister candidate, Vjosa Osmani, said that, during their first meeting, the two parties "showed goodwill to govern together and goodwill to work in the interest of citizens."
Osmani said they would wait until the final election results before reaching an agreement.
Kurti and Osmani said the parties discussed reducing the number of ministers and deputy ministers.
According to final preliminary results, Vetevendosje garnered 25.5 percent of the vote in the October 6 snap elections, followed by LDK with 24.8 percent.
The former ruling party, the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), which has dominated politics for more than a decade, placed third, while the coalition of outgoing Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj's Alliance for the Future of Kosovo was fourth.
Turnout was 44.5 percent.
EU observers said the polls were "well-administered and transparent," but pointed out shortcomings including the "intimidation" of ethnic Serbs by the main political force that represents the country's Serb minority.
The early elections were triggered by Haradinaj’s resignation in July after war crimes prosecutors at The Hague summoned him for questioning over his wartime role as a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK).
The election campaign was dominated by issues of corruption, high unemployment, and a possible peace deal with Serbia, which has not recognized the former Serbian province’s independence.
Kosovo remains very poor, with unemployment at 25 percent. More than 200,000 Kosovars have left and applied for asylum in the European Union since Pristina declared independence in 2008.
Kosovo's Election Winners Enter Coalition Talks Just Days After Vote