Isa Mustafa during the interview at Jeta ne Kosove. Photo: BIRN.

Isa Mustafa: “Now is the time to discuss all the issues”

In a televised interview with Jeta ne Kosove, LDK leader Isa Mustafa elaborated on the party’s ongoing discussions with Vetevendosje over the formation of a coalition government, the future of the Kosovo presidency, as well as environmental issues.

During a one hour interview for BIRN’s televised program Jeta Ne Kosove, Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, leader Isa Mustafa stated that polls had put his party ahead of its rivals until just a day before the parliamentary elections on October 6. 

“Over the last two years, all the polls showed that we were leading, but in the end it seems we didn’t win first place,” Mustafa said. He went on to hail the party’s success at the election having significantly increased their share of the vote from 2017, despite Vetevendosje’s first place finish.

Vetevendosje and LDK have been meeting to discuss the formation of a coalition government ever since preliminary results placed the parties as the two most voted, and Mustafa revealed that the talks have already yielded results.

“We have discussed economic issues, we have discussed the issue of organizing the government, we have discussed the issue of education, the healthcare system, the functioning of the state and of rule of law [..] the teams have managed to harmonize most things,” Mustafa said, adding that the two party leaders will soon discuss the issue of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.

The results of the election are not yet certified due to an ongoing recount at 1,168 polling stations, and Mustafa insisted that no coalition agreement will be signed until the Central Election Commission publishes the certified results. However, the LDK leader believes it is clear that the election proved one thing: Opposition parties in the previous mandate won out over the previous government.

Mustafa also revealed that his party are keen to discuss the issue of the next Kosovo president, which will be nominated by the Kosovo parliament in April 2021. “I think now is the time to discuss all the issues,” he said. “Within the first half of the mandate, we will be challenged with the issue of the president, and we don’t want to neglect challenges that can jeopardize our coalition.”

Asked over speculation linking Mustafa’s name as a candidate for president, he neither confirmed nor denied the idea, but suggested that there should be an even distribution of key positions between LDK and Vetevendosje. He added that finding an apolitical candidate for the position is almost impossible. “The problem is that I don’t know anyone in Kosovo who has no affiliation with political parties,” Mustafa said.

The LDK leader also conceded that his party had previously been mistaken in its support for the building of a new lignite-fueled power plant, known as the “Kosova e Re” project. LDK was a proponent of building the new power plant, but for Mustafa, the World Bank pulling out of financing “Kosova e Re” means the government should focus more on renewable sources of energy and give up on the project.

“I cannot escape from my responsibilities because back then [2015-2017], we supported the construction of Kosova e Re,” he said. “But we did so in different circumstances as in my office, representatives of World Bank financially supported its construction. However, now none of us is able to guarantee to cover such a project within Kosovo’s budget.”

The former prime minister added that Kosovo must move on from the burning of fossil fuels. “For me, the best solution would be to burn coal as minimally as possible, he said. “We are terrified at seeing the smoke coming from the chimneys [of Obiliq].”

22/11/2019 - 15:55

22 November 2019 - 15:55

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