PDK's chairman Kadri Veseli during the meeting with leading figures of the party. Photo: PDK.

Kadri Veseli’s dismissal of indicted PDK officials falls on deaf ears

PDK leader Kadri Veseli’s initiative to remove all members indicted for corruption appears to have been ignored by the majority of his party, BIRN reports, as indicted politicians sat front row at PDK’s pre-electoral meeting on Monday.

In June, chairman of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, Kadri Veseli decided to remove all members and officials indicted with corruption and nepotism charges from his party, an initiative never before seen among Kosovo political parties.

“I have decided that those politically appointed  by the Democratic Party of Kosovo in public institutions who have indictments that are connected with suspicions of misconduct, corruption or nepotism to resign from their positions immediately,” said Veseli back in June. 

However, the numerous members of the party that have been subject to criminal charges from Kosovo’s judiciary appear to remain politically active.

A pre-electoral meeting on Monday evening was organized to prepare the party for the potential upcoming election season. The meeting was announced following the resignation of PDK’s coalition partner, Ramush Haradinaj, from his position as Kosovo’s prime minister, which has triggered support from all political parties for early parliamentary elections to be held in Kosovo in the next few months. 

Two indicted PDK officials, former mayor of Skenderaj Sami Lushtaku and former MP Adem Grabovci, had front row seats at Monday’s meeting. 

A pre-electoral meeting held by PDK on Monday. Photo: PDK.

Lushtaku was indicted for engaging in an unlawful tendering process within the Kosovo Energy Corporation, KEK, in 2015 while he was mayor of Skenderaj, but refused to resign from his current position as head of PDK’s party branch in Skenderaj.

Reacting to Veseli’s decision at the beginning of July, he called for the resignation of other members of the party. 

“There are four or five people from the party who should either leave or be suspended. They have shamefully held Kosovo and PDK captive, controlling everything in Kosovo: the justice sector, media, businesses and other vital spheres of the country,” Lushtaku said.

Since Veseli announced his request for indicted officials’ resignations, Besim Beqaj, former minister of Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been the only one to resign in response. Beqaj was indicted as part of the ‘Pronto affair,’ one of twelve government officials involved in a wiretapping scandal back in 2016 that revealed the unlawful appointment of party members to key state agencies and institutions.

Grabovci, also indicted as part of the ‘Pronto affair,’ was present at Monday’s meeting as well, but has so far given no public comment concerning the request for his resignation. 

The ‘Pronto affair’ was followed by numerous reports of nepotism within Kosovo institutions. Since 2016, party-affiliated appointments to public institutions have been common, with the international community calling on the Kosovo Government to end its culture of nepotism.

Upon announcing his decision to remove indicted officials, Veseli expressed his continued support for their membership in the future. “When the final verdict states that they are not guilty, all these people will return to their merited place within PDK and Kosovo institutions,” he said.

Nepotism and corruption are not the only charges that have been filed against PDK officials in recent months. Deputy speaker of the Assembly, Xhavit Haliti, was indicted in May for physical assault against an LDK MP, Arben Gashi. Haliti was elected as head of the PDK branch in Peja in the same month, and made an appearance at PDK’s Monday meeting.

30/07/2019 - 11:43

30 July 2019 - 11:43

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