Government loses parliamentary support from minority MPs

The 6+ parliamentary group has withdrawn its support for the government unless Kosovo Ambassador to France Qendrim Gashi is dismissed.

Deputy Speaker of the Kosovo Assembly Fikrim Damka has announced that the 6+ parliamentary group will not support any legislation, outside of the economic recovery package and Law on COVID-19, until Kosovo’s Ambassador to France Qendrim Gashi is dismissed.  

Gashi sparked controversy earlier this month after sharing an article from Le Figaro which included cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. 

Damka, a member of the Turkish Justice Party, stated during Wednesday’s Assembly session that Gashi had put “himself and Kosovo in a very difficult position.” 

“The ambassador of a Muslim-majority country spread a disrespectful and anti-Islamic message, disregarding the Constitution and fundamental values ​​of the Republic of Kosovo, which emphasizes the importance of inter-religious and unitary tolerance,” Damka said. 

He added that the group had submitted an official letter to Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and President Hashim Thaci requesting the immediate dismissal of Gashi, but that no concrete steps had been taken.

Earlier this month, the Islamic Community of Kosovo condemned Gashi’s decision to share the Le Figaro article, describing it as “unacceptable” and an act “that only increases intolerance, hatred and mistrust among people.”

In a response on social media, Ambassador Gashi defended his decision. “Of course it was not my intention to offend anyone, and I am very sorry to see people who may have been hurt because they did not know the details and context of the journalistic article,” he said.

The withdrawal of support by the 6+ parliamentary group is another headache for the coalition government, who have relied on the group’s backing to achieve a parliamentary majority.

Agnesa Haxhiu, a researcher at the Kosovo Democratic Institute that monitors the Assembly, told Prishtina Insight that the decision will make the work of the Assembly “extremely difficult,” with the government no longer guaranteed the 61 votes required to reach quorum.

“Since its election, the Hoti Government has consistently lacked votes, even for issues that require a simple majority,” she said. “This is due to problems between the coalition partners themselves, the absence of MPs from sessions and the extreme polarization of attitudes with the opposition.”

Haxhiu predicted that with the decision of the 6+, the government would continue to struggle to implement its governing plan. 

“So far the government has failed to pass any law other than the one on the budget and a few international agreements,” she said. “There are now five bills left over from previous sessions, including three other international agreements. If this trend continues, the government will find it impossible to implement its governing program.”

29/10/2020 - 15:43

29 October 2020 - 15:43

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.