Ilustration: BIRN.

Constitutional Court approves Hoti nomination

The temporary injunction suspending President Thaci’s decree nominating Avdullah Hoti as prime minister has been lifted by the Constitutional Court, enabling the formation of a new government and sparking outrage from Vetevendosje.

The Constitutional Court has found that President Hashim Thaci’s decree nominating Avdullah Hoti as Kosovo’s next prime minister is in compliance with the Kosovo Constitution. The court has also removed its temporary injunction suspending the decree, paving the way to the formation of a new government led by LDK’s Hoti.

A summary of the full decision was published one month after Vetevendosje submitted the proposal for review, claiming that Article 82 of the Kosovo Constitution required Thaci to dissolve the parliament following the successful vote of no confidence passed against the government on 25 March.

However, the court concluded that a motion of no confidence does not result in a mandatory dissolution of the parliament. In its conclusions, the court stated that while the president has the possibility to dissolve the parliament he cannot do so “contrary to the will of the Assembly.”

“The use of the verb “may” in the context of paragraph 2 of Article 82 of the Constitution, only reflects the possibility of the President to dissolve the Assembly, based on consultations with the political parties represented in the Assembly,” the Court states.

The conclusion adds that the president’s power to dissolve the Assembly must be used only “in coordination with and depending on the will of the necessary majority of the representatives of the people represented in the Assembly.”

As the president is not required to dissolve the parliament, the court also concluded that the formation of a new government in compliance with Article 95 of the Constitution is thereby permitted. 

In reference to its 2014 decision, the court stated that under Article 95, the winning party or coalition from the election has the first right to nominate a candidate for prime minister to the president. The court also concluded that the same party has the first right to propose the candidate for prime minister even following a motion of no confidence.

In April, President Thaci sought a nomination from Vetevendosje, the winning party of the October 2019 elections, submitting four letters to the party requesting a candidate. In its response to Thaci, the party explicitly stated it was not refusing to nominate a candidate, but questioned the President’s actions, arguing that new elections were the only constitutional route out of the crisis. 

However, the court concluded that Vetevendosje’s failure to name a candidate meant the president had “rightly ascertained the constitutional possibilities to nominate a candidate for Prime Minister by the winning political party have been exhausted.”

“As a result, the President initiated the procedures for the appointment of the new candidate for Prime Minister,” the court stated, adding that the right to first nominate a candidate “is not vested with the authorization to block the formation of a Government within an election cycle. Such an attitude would submit the most important state institutions to the sole will of the winning political party or coalition.” 

President Thaci hailed the court’s decision, calling for a swift vote in the Kosovo Assembly to elect the new government. 

“I was convinced that every step I took was in full accordance with the Kosovo Constitution and I feel good that the Constitutional Court confirmed it,” he stated. “Kosovo will face many challenges ahead, and therefore time should be not wasted to form the new government with the full legitimacy of the Kosovo Assembly.”

Hoti also welcomed the decision, stating that “the restoration of good faith among us and the respect of institutional order is our duty and joint obligation.” Ramush Haradinaj, the former prime minister and leader of Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, who already has a coalition agreement in place with LDK, echoed Hoti, calling on all parties to respect the decision.

However, Albulena Haxhiu, Vetevendosje’s incumbent Minister of Justice, described the decision as “scandalous,” adding that “the Constitutional Court has dealt a blow to the will of the people.”

Vetevendosje has warned that its supporters will take to the streets to oppose any decision that would pave the way for the formation of a new government without fresh elections being held. On Thursday thousands of people gathered in Skanderbeg Square in Prishtina as part of a ‘test’ demonstration.

29/05/2020 - 10:10

29 May 2020 - 10:10

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.