UNCLAS PRISTINA 000520
DEPT FOR DRL, INL, EUR/SCE, AND EUR/SSA, NSC FOR BRAUN,
USUN FOR DREW SCHUFLETOWSKI, USOSCE FOR STEVE STEGER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM UNMIK YI
SUBJECT: KOSOVO: BAD POLL NUMBERS FOR THACI SIGNAL REQUEST
FOR CONTACT GROUP HELP?
REF: PRISTINA 513
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED; PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.
Â¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY. A new public opinion poll of non-Serb
Kosovars suggests plummeting popularity for opposition
leaders Hashim Thaci and his Democratic Party of Kosovo
(PDK). The poll, taken by a nominally apolitical local
consulting company, was issued days before Thaci made a rare
request for a June 9 meeting of Pristina-based Contact Group
representatives to discuss a possible postponement of
municipal elections tentatively scheduled for October. PDK
headquarters denies any connection between the poll numbers
and Thaci's reversal of his steadfast opposition to a
postponement. END SUMMARY.
Â¶2. (SBU) A June 2 poll of ethnic Albanian and non-Serb ethnic
minorities released by a self-identified apolitical local
consulting agency suggested a change in fortune for Hashim
Thaci's opposition party, the Democratic Party of Kosovo
(PDK). Released by "Gani Bobi," a local think tank, in
cooperation with new local Kumt Consulting, the poll finds
49.8 percent support among non-Serb Kosovars for senior
coalition party Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), 21.2
percent for the PDK, 18.1 percent for Ramush Haradinaj's
Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and 3.1 percent for
Veton Surroi's Reform Party Ora (PRO).
Â¶3. (SBU) Individual political personalities from the
opposition fared much worse than their respective political
parties. According to the poll, which assigned a 1-5 ranking
to results (5 being the best), Prime Minister Agim Ceku
polled highest at 4.18. Thaci, who usually ranks well inside
the top ten among Kosovo's politicians, polled a dismal 15th
Â¶4. (SBU) Thaci's political advisor Lirim Grejcevci told
polFSN June 16 that the poll was a "manipulation"
orchestrated by Thaci's political rivals in the LDK and AAK,
namely Deputy Prime Minister Lutfi Haziri and Ramush
Haradinaj, respectively. Grejcevci claimed that Shkelzen
Maliqi, the principal of Gani Bobi, was "bought" and had
changed the original numbers. (NOTE: A forthcoming survey
by Index Kosovo supported the drop in public opinion for
Thaci's PDK: LDK polled at 42 percent; PDK 21 percent; AAK
11 percent and ORA 3 percent. END NOTE.)
Â¶5. (SBU) Deflecting an invitation to comment on reports that
Thaci's new-found comfort with a delay in elections stems
from these poll results (reftel), Grejcevci said the PDK was
neither influenced nor impressed with the poll's results.
"It has no bearing on our political actions. Our idea for a
technical government precedes any current poll results."
Â¶6. (U) U.S. Office Pristina clears this cable for release in
its entirety to U.N. Special Envoy for Kosovo Martti