Municipality of Prishtina; Photo/Atdhe Mulla

Former Allies Argue Over Prishtina Coalition Crisis

Days after the municipal coalition in Prishtina collapsed, former coalition partners, LDK and PDK blame each other for the early termination of their cooperation.

Prishtina mayor Përparim Rama, from Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, and former coalition partners from Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, have shared the blame over the collapse of the Prishtina municipality governing coalition after the dismissal of PDK officials. 

In separate interviews for Kallxo Përnime show, on Friday and Saturday respectively, Rama claimed he dismissed the directors from PDK for sabotaging their duties, whereas former officials from PDK called the decisions “purely political” because the party objected a much-debated issue of a land swap in municipality’s territory. 

“Their (PDK) reasoning was that ‘we are protecting the Badovc area from construction’,” Rama told Kallxo Përnime on February 9, explaining that in fact his Deputy, Donjeta Sahatciu of PDK, was dismissed because of delays in the implementation of projects, mainly in the digitalization of education in the municipality, and Ilirik Musliu for “not properly managing waste disposal in the city”. 

However, these reasons given by mayor Rama were called “purely political” by the former directors in the ‘Kallxo Pernime’ Show on February 10.

Mayor Rama had dismissed Sahatciu on February 5 and Musliu three days earlier. 

Besiane Musmurati, former education director from PDK, told Kallxo Përnime show, one day after Rama, on February 10, that “Badovc problem is the ‘tip of the iceberg’,” .

“We have been asking for coordination on the agenda in the Municipal Assembly for a long time. The Badovc documents were not sent two weeks before voting, as they should have,” Musmurati claimed, explaining that even in the files they accepted “there were missing pages on the documents”.

The municipal Assembly, on December 21, 2023, had decided the land swap of 13 hectares of land worth 8 million euros, in the protected zone near Badovc/Badovac lake, with a property in one of the biggest developing neighborhoods ‘Prishtina e Re’. The former government partner of LDK in Prishtina, PDK, had boycotted the December session, without publicly claiming the reason behind their boycott was their objection to the swap. Later on, PDK had blamed their former partner, LDK, and opposition, Vetevendosje, Assembly members for the decision.

The process of this particular land swap had started in 2021. 

Mayor of Prishtina Municipality, Perparim Rama (L), Former Deputy Mayor f Prishtina, Donjeta Sahatciu (R), former director of public services (M), Illustration: Diar Vucetaj/BIRN

Municipal officials have explained that the property exchange was proposed for compensation by the previous municipal administration led by mayor Shpend Ahmeti. The property decided to be swapped during Ahmeti’s tenure was valued at 3 million euros by the Ministry of Finance. Therefore, in 2022 the owner of the land, near the Badovc/Badovac lake, had asked the municipality to compensate the remaining  5 million euros, considering his land had a value of 8 million euros, according to the Ministry of Finances.

“The Ministry of Finance valued the land (at the Badovc/Badovac lake) at 8 million euros for 13 hectares and obliged the Municipality to make an exchange because it is in the public interest,” Rama told Kallxo Përnime show, explaining that the interest lied in the opportunities to construct in the area. 

“We had to either pay upfront or exchange, but the Municipality did not have the funds (to pay upfront),” he said.

Describing his dismissal as “unjust”, Musliu told Kallxo Përnime that it came after his party did not support the land swap of the protected area and had also shortcomings in communication with LDK regarding the agenda and proposals for projects in the Municipal Assembly.

Referring to the claims that he did not properly manage the waste of the city, Musliu emphasized that Prishtina does not have a city waste management company but relies on a regional one. 

He said that his department had “already started working with a private partner to purchase equipment”.

Musmurati, claimed that Rama “did not wait for the necessary permits from the Information and Data Protection Agency, which is responsible for safeguarding the personal data of students”.

After media reports on this land swap, on February 8, 2024, through an extraordinary session, the annulment of the swap decision was voted, officially marking the dissolution of the government coalition.

The Prishtina court, through a decision issued on February 2, 2024, had approved the request of the Kosovo Justice Institute to postpone the execution of the decision to exchange municipal property in “Prishtina e Re ” with properties near Badovc/Badovac Lake.

12/02/2024 - 17:44

12 February 2024 - 17:44

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.