Tuesday, August 3

Albin Kurti, the “Che Guevara of Kosovo”, ready to take the reins of power


Your party Vetevendosje (“Self-determination”) or VV movement, obtained yesterday almost 50% of the votes in the elections

Albin Kurti at a press conference yesterday in Pristina.
Albin Kurti at a press conference yesterday in Pristina.REUTERS
  • Elections Ultranationalists Win Kosovar Elections, Exit Polls Show

He went inside a prison, advocated riots, and sprayed Parliament with tear gas. Today, Albin Kurti He is in pole position to lead the next Kosovo government after the victory of his reformist party yesterday in the legislative elections.

Formerly known as “Che Guevara de Kosovo” for his radical tactics, Kurti praised his party’s “great victory” Vetevendosje (“Self-determination”) or VV movement, which on Sunday obtained almost 50% of the votes.

His number one project will be eradicate the corruption that has plagued Kosovo for more than two decades, as anticipated in campaign. “The former Albanian-majority Serbian province, one of the poorest regions in Europe, will have a new beginning,” he said yesterday in the snow in Pristina in front of his supporters, nonetheless warning that the road would be strewn with pitfalls. “A lot of work awaits us because the country is going through multiple crises. The road will be long“continued the charismatic leader with great talent as a speaker.

“This election was a referendum on justice and employment, against corruption and the management of state resources.” VV received the support of the interim president Vjosa Osmani, 38-year-old, symbol of a new generation political class, who left the center-right Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).


Both have crystallized hopes for change after the long tenure of former commanders of the independence rebellion against Serbian forces (1998-1999), accused of having looted the state coffers and of nepotism. With fervent nationalism and a program of the left, Vetevendjose has long been a provocative force on the Kosovar political arena.

In its early years, VV represented those youth who fought in the streets against the elites of power and foreign influence in post-war Kosovo, watched over by international missions, charged with overseeing the democratic transition. Since 2011, the party has been gaining strength among the electorate and in the previous legislatures, in 2019, it was in first position. But Kurti’s government did not last two months, being overthrown by a vote of no confidence encouraged by the United States. His sympathizers denounced a “coup”.

The 45-year-old former student leader built a reputation on the street in the 1990s by organizing demonstrations against the Serbian regime’s repression against the majority of Kosovo’s Albanians. When he was still in his twenties, his activism cost him two years in the dungeons of Slobodan Milosevic. After the war, Kurti became one of the main voices of the opposition, both to the Kosovar leaders and to the international community, with a fiery anti-western rhetoric.

Now, he will have to convince Western leaders that he is no longer the leader of the riots of another time, while the memory of the gigantic VV demonstrations, which sometimes led to violent acts, is still very much alive in Kosovo. In 2018, the deputies of the reformist party even they fired tear gas inside Parliament to protest against bills.

To form a coalition government, it will suffice with the support of the parties representing minorities, which have 20 seats, out of the 120 that Parliament has. If he becomes prime minister, he will have to continue the difficult dialogue with Serbia, aimed at normalizing relations with Belgrade, which refuses to recognize the independence of its former province more than 20 years after the end of the war. Still, Albin Kurti warned: “The dialogue [con Serbia] it ranks sixth or seventh for Kosovo citizens. Our priority is justice and jobs. “

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