Kosovo elects new parliament chairman, while gov't establishment remains unclear

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 27, 2019 08:53

Kosovo elects new parliament chairman, while gov't establishment remains unclear

Story Highlights

  • Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi congratulated MPs via a post on social networks, stressing that "the Republic of Kosovo has numerous challenges ahead, which require a high level of responsibility to be overcome, so all elected people must set aside political interests and work for the rapid establishment of institutions of the Republic of Kosovo.”

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TIRANA, Dec. 26 - The Kosovo parliament gathered on Thursday afternoon and elected its new chairman; with 75 votes in favor, 27 against and 6 abstentions, Glauk Konjufca was elected for the position.  

The proposal was made suddenly by the leader of the Self Determination (Vetevendosje) Movement Albin Kurti, and then the parliament elected the vice-chairmen, making this the fastest election of its leadership since Kosovo's declaration of independence.

The first parliament meeting was held without a political co-government agreement between the Self-Determination Movement that came first and the Democratic League that came second in the October 6 elections. Since the end of the elections, when negotiations between these parties for co-government begun, it has been assumed that the post of parliament chairman will belong to someone from the Democratic League of Kosovo.

"Today is a very good day for democracy, for state building in Kosovo, since the new parliament was elected, the parliament is a temple of democracy and lawmaking, so I am convinced that through this step we have shown a kind of democratic civilization because, unlike the sixth legislature, we have not blocked the establishment of institutions and with kindness and general interest before any other interest I believe we will overcome all obstacles and have a new government just like we established the new parliament," said the leader of the Vetevendosje Movement Albin Kurti after the meeting. 

He said he expects cooperation from the Democratic League, with which he said "we are in regular contact."

Hours before the parliament meeting, Democratic League of Kosovo President Isa Mustafa said that the agreement should include a reciprocal separation of powers, five ministries for Vetevendosje and five ministries for LDK. He said the post of Prime Minister should go to Vetevendosje and the post of Vice Prime Minister to LDK. Continuing, the post of parliament chairman and the post of president, according to him, should be entrusted to the LDK. In return, he said that Vetevendosje should take one more ministry under its leadership in 2021, when the new president is elected. 

"If the Vetevendosje movement is not ready for this agreement and sees the LDK as an obstacle, then I declare that the LDK is ready to relinquish all institutional responsibilities. The LDK expresses its readiness to vote without any conditions the Vetevendosje government," said Mustafa.

After the parliamentary meeting, Lumir Abdixhiku of the LDK said the party remained true to claims it would not block the establishment of institutions.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday evening, Kurti, via a video message posted on the social network Facebook, said that the LDK rejected his party's latest offer.

"The offer had three points; point 1: speaker of Parliament and the first vice-president belongs to the VV as the first party,  the second vice president belongs to the LDK. Let's make the row between the Parliament Chairman and the second Vice-President of the Parliament. LDK gets the Parliament Chairman and VV the second Vice President. Point 2: we best leave the president election for later. But if the LDK insists that we definitely make the promise of the LDK nomination, then we need to add us a ministry now: the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is vital to combating crime and corruption. The LDK's nomination for presidential candidate comes after we have not found a consensual nonpartisan personality, and when the LDK names his or her candidate, VV's approval will also be required. And point 3: at the request of LDK, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports is divided, whereby Culture and Youth are transferred to the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, while the Sport is transferred to the Ministry of Health. Non-Serb minorities receive the Ministry of Regional Development or Local Government, while the Serbian minority receives the Ministry for Communities," he said.

 

US Embassy to Pristina congratulates the new MPs

The US Embassy in Kosovo welcomed the parliamentary meeting, congratulating Chairman Glauk Konjufca.

"The U.S. Embassy welcomes the constitution of the Kosovo Assembly and congratulates Speaker Glauk Konjufca, other members of the Assembly Presidency and all Members. We encourage political leaders to form a new government immediately that is committed to fulfill the mandate of the voters.  We look forward to working with the new government on pressing issues related to peace, justice, and prosperity," the statement read. 

 

President Thaci seeks fast government formation 

Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi congratulated MPs via a post on social networks, stressing that "the Republic of Kosovo has numerous challenges ahead, which require a high level of responsibility to be overcome, so all elected people must set aside political interests and work for the rapid establishment of institutions of the Republic of Kosovo."

For now, it is unclear what the course of the process for setting up the new government will be.

Under the constitution, the president of Kosovo proposes to parliament the candidate for prime minister, in consultation with the political party or coalition that has won the necessary majority.

But in reality, that decision depends on the negotiations of the winning parties, the continuation of which remains unclear at this time.

Kosovo has a long experience of long negotiations between governing coalitions in the past. Observers, meanwhile, say the country is at a time when processes need to be stepped up to avoid extending an institutional gap that may have consequences for the future, or avoiding opportunities for the country to go to the polls instead of finding a solution.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 27, 2019 08:53