Ailing the Process : Political Parties and Consolidation of Democracy in Kosovo
System transformation is a process that has its beginning and flow, and gradually arrives at the closing stages, that are likely to bring into being the intended system, though no system is safe from rolling back. Notwithstanding the considerable achievements of Kosovo democracy on system transformation, above all on the transition from an authoritarian to a democratic system, the consolidation phase has so far proved to be overly long and compromised, making the future and end results of the process highly unpredictable. Along with other internal and external multilevel actors determining developments on the consolidation phase within the complexity of the system transformation process, political parties are, generally regarded as irreplaceable institutions in a representative democracy. Their position at the second level of democracy consolidation, influencing the other three levels of the democracy consolidation structure, sets the consolidation process decisively dependent on them. The way and extent to which political parties perform their expected functions: representation; integration; legitimation; innovation; and governing, have a determining effect on democracy consolidation prospects. Indisputably, their short-term poor performance, impedes, and later makes the rolling back of the consolidation process more likely. The impact political parties have on the democracy consolidation process is amplified as it takes place in an environment of high-level state and society party-driven politicisation, as currently is the case in Kosovo. Usually, the consolidation of internationally sponsored democracies entails democracy domestication, a process where parties are unavoidable to teach and inculcate democracy among and within society. Yet, since parties as the major institutions and driving forces within the process of democracy consolidation, fail to perform their normatively expected functions, there is no one to replace them particularly in a highly politicised society offering little space and opportunity for other substitution actors. Likewise, they destructively affect the prospects of the process. Political parties in Kosovo are found to perform their functions poorly, consequently ailing the democracy consolidation process at the current level of visual negative consolidation, with highly unpredicted prospects.