There’s no love lost between Edi Rama and Albin Kurti. But if Rama wins a third term as Albanian prime minister, their relationship may shape relations between Albania and Kosovo for years to come, with ramifications for the region.
On February 15, a day after Albin Kurti’s Vetvendosje party won a landslide Valentine’s Day election in Kosovo, the prime minister of neighbouring Albania, Edi Rama, took to Twitter with a congratulatory message. The tweet was business-like, not loving, and omitted the flag of Albania that Albanian politicians usually use when writing about their ethnic kin in Kosovo.
It came as little surprise, however, to followers of the Rama-Kurti relationship, one that for the past two or three years has been marked by often open hostility.
Tensions between the two men are reaching new heights, with Kurti crowned undisputed leader of Kosovo and Rama’s fate still to be decided in a parliamentary election set for April 25.
Kurti, who has long championed the cause of unification between Albania and Kosovo, has been thumbing his nose at Rama of late, his Vetevendosje party supporting three MP candidates in Albania’s upcoming election who are part of the opposition chorus against Rama’s Socialist government.