VV's Albin Kurti, 46 Other Candidates Barred from Running in Kosovo Election

Kosovo’s Elections Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) confirmed on Tuesday disqualification of 47 candidates from upcoming election who have been found guilty of a criminal offense by a final court decision in the last three years. Among those not certified in the upcoming parliamentary elections on February 14 is also the Vetevendosje leader, Albin Kurti, who according to polls is the main candidate to win the prime minister’s post.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) has not verified the election lists of three parties – Vetevendosje, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and Nisma, after several of their candidates in the election list were convicted of various criminal offences in the last three years. According to the law, a candidate found guilty of a crime in the previous three years is barred from running for a seat in parliament. The three parties refused to replace candidates facing legal problems and as a result the CEC rejected their entire party lists. Other parties including the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and Srpska List as well as minor parties representing non-Serb minorities have made replaced disputed candidates. On Monday, the CEC chair sent a letter to the ECAP recommending the lists to be certified but not the candidates who have been convicted by the courts.
The parties not certified by the CEC filed a complaint with the ECAP which has decided to certify the election lists, but disqualified the candidates facing legal problems. In addition to Kurti from the Vetevendosje the ECAP has disqualified also candidates: Albulena Haxhiu, Liburn Aliu, Bajram Mavriqi and Labinote Demi-Murtezi.
The Vetevendosje senior officials have harshly criticized the CEC chairwoman, Valdete Daka, of taking biased political decisions, alluding that the CEC chair is close to the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK).

Daka condemned public threats and insults of the Vetevendosje members saying that the decision was taken based on the Law on Election and had requested the Judicial Council assist in the process of verifying candidates in accordance with election laws.