Kosovo is going to the polls Sunday in an early parliamentary election after the country’s Constitutional Court invalidated the vote to confirm the government formed by the Democratic League of Kosovo, or LDK.
More than 1,000 candidates from 28 political groups are competing for the 120 seats in the legislative body, 10 of which belong to Serbian community and 10 to other minorities.
Some 1.8 million people are eligible to vote, including about 100,000 in the diaspora.
Last year, the LDK forced a vote in parliament to bring down the 4-month-old government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti of Vetevendosje, the Self-Determination Movement, and replace it with the government of Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti of the LDK.
In December, Kosovo’s Constitutional Court supported a Vetevendosje challenge of a vote by a convicted lawmaker that helped confirm the Hoti government.
Sunday’s vote is held against an economic downturn caused primarily by the coronavirus pandemic. Kosovo has reported over 64,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 1,500 deaths.
Bringing unemployment under control and fighting organized crime and corruption will be the biggest challenges for the new government.
Opinion polls taken before Sunday indicated that Vetevendosje would win 45% to 55% of the vote among ethnic Albanians, who comprise about 90% of the population.
Although it is about twice the number of votes Vetevendosje garnered in 2019 election, it is still below the 61% threshold to govern alone.