Democratic League of Kosovo

The Democratic League of Kosovo (Albanian: Lidhja Demokratike e Kosovës, LDK) is the oldest and one of the largest political parties in Kosovo.

Democratic League of Kosovo
Lidhja Demokratike e Kosovës
LeaderLumir Abdixhiku
Parliamentary leaderArben Gashi
FounderIbrahim Rugova
Founded23 December 1989; 33 years ago (1989-12-23)
Political positionCentre-right
European affiliationEuropean People's Party (observer)[4]
Colours  Red
16 / 120
9 / 38
Municipal councils
206 / 994
Party flag
Flag of the Democratic League of Kosovo.svg

At the legislative elections held on 24 October 2004 the party won 45.4% of the popular vote and 47 out of 120 seats, seven of which have defected to the Nexhat Daci-led Democratic League of Dardania. One of the founding members, Ibrahim Rugova was the president of the party as the president of Kosovo until his death, on 21 January 2006. At the last legislative elections held on 17 November 2007, the party won only 22.6% and 25 seats but went on to form a Coalition government with Hashim Thaçi's Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK). In October 2010, the LDK withdrew from the coalition.[5]


During the late 1980s, nationalism was on the rise throughout the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Since 1974 the province of Kosovo, although part of the Socialist Republic of Serbia, was a self-governed entity over which the Serbian parliament had almost no factual control (see Political status of Kosovo). In the late 1980s, civil unrest which had been striking the province for decades, suddenly erupted further in Kosovo as ethnic Albanians demanded more autonomy (in view of becoming the 7th Yugoslav Republic). At the same time, Serbian Communists' leader Slobodan Milošević used the situation in Kosovo as a political means to win popularity among Serbs. In 1989, he abolished the autonomy of Kosovo using amendments to the Serbian Constitution, reverting Kosovo to its pre-1974 status, thus restoring Serbia's control of the province. In response, a group of Albanian intellectuals gathered the same year to form the Democratic League of Kosovo, which opposed these measures, as well as the ratification of Kosovo's parliament in 1990 which returned the level of Kosovo's autonomy to how it had been sixteen years earlier.

Because of its ideology, which was deemed nationalist and separatist, it was banned by the Yugoslavian authorities, together with the self-styled shadow Kosovo Parliament that opposed the ratifications of Kosovo's real assembly in July 1990. As a result, its members proclaimed in protest on the steps of the parliament building the "Republic of Kosova", independent from Yugoslavia, which drafted its own constitution. Claiming that conditions for Albanians were not addressed, the LDK successfully called for a boycott of the Kosovar Albanians of the first free elections in 1990. Following the 1991 population census, in which LDK President Rugova also called for boycott, resulting in only 9,091 Albanians recorded which composed around 2.53% of the Kosovar population, the LDK called the Albanian people to leave and boycott all state institutions until the solution of the Albanian national question. The LDK opposed the centralized control imposed by Belgrade, which reintroduced the Serbian language as the language of Kosovo as well as making other implementations; and they were growing deeply concerned about Belgrade's handling of the Albanian populace with regards to the wider group interests.

By the spring of 1991, the LDK had support from the diaspora in Zurich, Stuttgart and Brussels and numbered a massive membership of approximately 700,000 people.[citation needed] In September 1991 the LDK-constituted shadow Albanian parliament of the self-styled Republic of Kosova adopted a resolution supporting full-scale "Independence and Sovereignty of Kosovo". The LDK then led the "Coordinating Committee of Albanian Political Parties in Yugoslavia" that included most ethnic Albanian political parties in the country. The decision was that only two choices are viable for peace and stability of the region: 1) unification of all Albanian-populated areas in Yugoslavia, or 2) an undivided Albanian state of all Albanians in the Balkans

The LDK was one of the chief organizers of a poorly organized referendum for self-determination in 1992, in which 87% of Kosovo's Albanian population (numbering 80% of the province's population) voted for independence. The referendum was declared illegal and further drove a rift between Albanians and Serbians in Kosovo. In 1992 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was formed and Kosovo remained an autonomous province of the Republic of Serbia. The LDK successfully called for Albanians, including those in Central Serbia and in the Preševo Valley, to boycott of general elections.

The LDK expressed bitterness when Kosovo was ignored during the Dayton Accords in 1995.[citation needed] Supporting an Albanian resistance movement the "National Movement for the Liberation of Kosovo", it abandoned its support of the subsequently organized Kosovo Liberation Army, which used violent means to achieve its goals. After 1997, the government of Albania changed, with a first democratic cabinet formed. Most LDK members abandoned the desire to unite Kosovo with Albania at this point. The LDK's desire for a peaceful solution to the Kosovo conflict lost support among the population and was replaced by the militarist KLA when war erupted in late 1998 and 1999 between the KLA and the Yugoslavian and Serbian forces. Severe atrocities against the Albanian population in Kosovo met with harsh criticism from the LDK. With recommendations from the United States, the LDK abandoned pursuits for an independent Kosovo and sought negotiations with Belgrade with a goal of achieving a substantial level of autonomy for Kosovo, with Ibrahim Rugova traveling to Belgrade and meeting President Milošević (now federal leader) on this matter. This act was criticized by the Albanian public and further downgraded the LDK's popularity. After the NATO bombing campaign in 1999, leading LDK members were present for the signing of the Kumanovo Treaty that adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and formalized the cessation of hostilities in Kosovo. However, despite their support of Resolution 1244, which mandates significant autonomy for Kosovo while recognizing the "sovereignty and territorial integrity" of Yugoslavia,[6] the LDK continually supported the independence of Kosovo. It is suspected that hundreds of supporters of the Democratic League of Kosovo were kidnapped, tortured and some killed in secret prisons of the Kosovo Liberation Army, mainly between 1998 and 2001, because perceived as rivals of the Democratic Party of Kosovo.[7] While still the second largest political party in Kosovo, the LDK's support has steadily declined since Kosovo's first elections (municipal) in 2001. Other political parties, including those linked to the former Kosovo Liberation Army, such as the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), have scored much gains at LDK's expense. The party is presided by a president and five vice-presidents.


The Party initially started out as an Albanian nationalist right-wing movement which campaigned for Kosovan independence. It was then led by Ibrahim Rugova a moderate leader who separated with the Kosovo Liberation Army faction. After the war the party remained under the conservative leadership of Rugova. The party also adopted several pro-European policies as well as moving farther to the centre of the political spectrum. However, after Rugovas' death the party went through a period of turmoil with several factions vying for control over the party. The more liberal-conservative stance of Fatmir Sejdiu took over, leading to Nexhat Daci and 6 other MAs forming the more conservative Democratic League of Dardania.

After losing seats consistently under Sejdius leadership unrest within the party began to grow and before the Kosovan parliamentary election, 2010 Isa Mustafa emerged as the new leader securing more than two thirds of the votes. Mustafa's leadership has seen the party return to the more hardline conservative stance, and some politicians have even come to describe the League as a social conservative party as well.

Critics have said the party has considerably abandoned their traditional, Kosovo-Albanian nationalist policies and policies of their founder Ibrahim Rugova. Since August 2014, it has been attacked by Vetevendosje on that front.

The Democratic League of Kosovo has been described as centrist,[8] centre-right[9][10] and right-wing.[11]


Former party leader Isa Mustafa had over 70 cases submitted to the prosecutor over alleged abuse of office while serving as Prishtina mayor.[12] These cases were all thrown out from the prosecutors in charge as the former mayor had no ties with the cases submitted. Former Minister of Culture Astrit Haraqia has been accused of abusing office during 2004–2007 as well as being involved in a large scheme to sell Schengen visas with other party official Ukë Rugova.[13] Suspected of corruption is also current MP Naser Osmani for alleged wrongdoings while in the board of Kosovo Privatisation Agency. He ran and gained a seat in the Assembly despite the accusations.[14] Former Obiliq municipality mayor Mehmet Krasniqi is being investigated for abuse of office.[15] Mehmet Krasniqi has since been found not guilty on the charges.[16]

In October 2020, the Hoti Government drafted the Recovery plan which provided assistance to businesses. In the list made by the Minister of Finance, Labor and Transfers of Kosovo Hekuran Murati a total of 50 businesses had benefited 60 million euros from the recovery package drafted by the Hoti Government. The Recovery plan fueled big businesses in Kosovo instead of small ones, "Viva Fresh" had been given over 860 thousand euros, "Elkos" of Ramiz Kelmendi with over 675 thousand euros, "Proex" with over 335 thousand euros, "Hib Petrol" with over 307 thousand euros. In the Recovery plan also benefited the security company "Balkan International SHPK" which is owned by Besnik Berisha, a former advisor to Isa Mustafa when he was Prime Minister of Kosovo, his company received over 100 thousand euros.[17]

Chairperson of the LDK, 1989–presentEdit

# President Born–Died Term start Term end Time in office
1 Ibrahim Rugova   1944–2006 23 December 1989 21 January 2006 16 years, 29 days
2 Fatmir Sejdiu   1951– 9 December 2006 7 November 2010 3 years, 333 days
3 Isa Mustafa   1951– 7 November 2010 14 March 2021 10 years, 127 days
4 Lumir Abdixhiku   1983 – 14 March 2021 Incumbent 2 years, 6 days

Elections resultsEdit

Parliamentary resultsEdit

2004 Electoral Logo of the Democratic League of Kosovo
Year Votes %Votes Overall seats won Albanian seats Position +/– Government Leader
1992 574,755 76.44%
96 / 140
96 / 126
  1st   96 Coalition Ibrahim Rugova
2001 359,851 45.7%
47 / 120
47 / 100
  1st   Coalition
2004 313,437 45.4%
47 / 120
47 / 100
  1st   Coalition
2007 129,410 22.6%
25 / 120
25 / 100
  2nd   23 Coalition Fatmir Sejdiu
2010 172,552 24.7%
27 / 120
27 / 100
  2nd   2 Opposition Isa Mustafa
2014 184,596 25.2%
30 / 120
30 / 100
  2nd   3 Coalition
2017 185,892 25.5%
23 / 120
23 / 100
  3rd   7 Opposition
2019 206,516 24.5%
28 / 120
28 / 100
  2nd   5 Coalition
2021 110,985 12.7%
15 / 120
15 / 100
  3rd   13 Opposition

Municipal mayor resultsEdit

Municipalities Election year No. of overall votes % of overall vote Seats Government
No. ± Position
Gjilan 2017 21,261 63.81 (1st)  
11 / 35
  0   1st LDK
Istog 2017 10,033 50.03 (1st)  
11 / 27
  1   1st LDK
Fushë Kosovë 2017 9,821 63.84 (1st)  
12 / 27
  0   1st LDK
Lipjan 2017 17,019 59.51 (1st)  
12 / 31
  3   1st LDK-AKR
Pejë 2017 22,014 50.23 (1st)  
15 / 35
  5   1st LDK-PDK
Vitia 2017 10,768 51.65 (1st)  
10 / 27
  1   1st LDK-AAK
Vushtrri 2017 15,122 54.24 (1st)  
6 / 35
  1   1st LDK


  1. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2007). "Kosovo". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 20 October 2007.
  2. ^ Campanile, Carl (30 September 2019). "Kosovo pol brands himself Trump's biggest fan to try to win election". New York Post. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  3. ^ Zulfaj, Jeton; Mulliqi, Brikena; Shala, Mentor; Tahiri, Petrit (15 April 2008). Political Parties in Kosova – Profile and Ideology (PDF). Çelnaja. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2013-07-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Kosovo in crisis after LDK quits government (". 2010-10-18. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
  6. ^ UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999), Annex 1
  7. ^ "Onze anciens de l'UÇK jugés coupables de crimes de guerre au Kosovo".
  8. ^ Szpala, Marta (9 October 2019). "Kosovo: sweeping victory for the opposition". Centre for Eastern Studies.
  9. ^ Hoare, Liam (20 February 2013). "Why Kosovo Still Matters". The Atlantic.
  10. ^ "Kosovo | European Election Watch". Center for Strategic and International Studies. 2019.
  11. ^ "Kosovo's Year in Review: Exceptional hardships and challenges". European Western Balkans. 13 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Mustafa kërkon suspendimin e zyrtarëve nën hetime, jo edhe të të emëruarve politikë". dialogplus. 2 September 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Astrit Haraqija, pjesë e grupit 21 personash të Ukë Rugovës për shitje vizash". KOHAnet. KOHA. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  14. ^ "I dyshuari për korrupsion në listën e LDK-së për deputet". KOHAnet. KOHA. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  15. ^ "I akuzuari për korrupsion është Mehmet Krasniqi i LDK-së". Portali Indeksonline. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  16. ^ "Shpallet i Pafajshëm ish- Kryetari i Obiliqit". 19 May 2017.
  17. ^ "Kompanitë që morën më së shumti para nga Qeveria Hoti janë ato që patën më së paku nevojë". (in Albanian). 2021-04-22. Retrieved 2022-05-23.

External linksEdit