The Kosovo Assembly holds its first session after October’s elections on Thursday at 15:00, but Vetevendosje and the Democratic League of Kosovo are still yet to reach an agreement over the formation of a coalition government.
More than 80 days after Kosovo’s snap elections took place on October 6, Vetevendosje and the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, the two political parties receiving the highest number of votes, are still yet to sign a deal to form a coalition government.
Both parties have confirmed numerous times that they have harmonized their plans for governance and agreed in principle to lead five ministries each, while the two remaining ministries will be led by representatives from from Kosovo’s ethnic non-majority communities.
However, talks have broken down over the issue of who will be Kosovo’s next president following the end of Kosovo President Hashim Thaci’s mandate in 2021. His successor will be elected by the Kosovo Assembly, with a two thirds quorum required.
“The issue of president is best to be tackled later,” said Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti in a video posted on Facebook on Wednesday night, adding that the nomination of a candidate proposed by LDK would only be possible if both parties are unable to find another non-partisan candidate.
During a press conference on Thursday, LDK leader Isa Mustafa said that in return for Vetevendosje supporting an LDK-nominated candidate for president, the party would be willing to hand over control of one more ministry to Vetevendosje once the candidate was confirmed by the Assembly.
Mustafa indicated that this offer would be the last option available for co-governance between the parties, suggesting that if Vetevendosje rejected the deal, LDK MPs would vote in a minority Vetevendosje government and return to opposition.
“With the consent of LDK’s chairmanship, I declare that LDK is ready to give up its demands for control of institutions, leaving it to Vetevendosje,” he said. “LDK expresses readiness for its 28 MPs to vote without any other conditions for the formation of the new institutions led by Vetevendosje.”
Kurti stated on Wednesday that Vetevendosje would only agree to include the future presidential post in the current negotiations if it is given control over one extra ministerial seat in the government’s cabinet – the Interior Ministry – which it claims is vital for combating crime and corruption.
However, Mustafa stated on Thursday that the “deal is done” regarding which ministries are to be led by which party. “We see no reason to revisit what we have already agreed upon,” said Mustafa, adding that the parties would “fight corruption together.”
For Kurti, Vetevendosje’s offer to LDK, which included 50 per cent of the governing program, 50 per cent of the ministries, the first deputy prime minister and the speaker of the Assembly was generous. “More than this, beyond this and a different way, we cannot and do not want to go further,” he said.
“We want to share governing responsibilities with justice and nobility, we are compromising even though we are the winner of the election,” said Kurti. “We are giving the second party 50 per cent of the program and half of the government.”
Mustafa however, believes that Vetevendosje’s first place finish does not entitle the party to a greater share. “Our demands cannot and should not be treated as demands by Vetevendosje because Vetevendosje has not won everything. They won one quarter of votes and no more, and LDK almost won the same,” Mustafa said on Wednesday. “Therefore, we are requesting a balanced share of responsibilities, in accordance with the result of October 6 elections.”
With the constitutive session of the Kosovo Assembly being held at 15:00 on Thursday, the clock will start ticking down before the two-month deadline expires to form the government. Under the constitution, the Assembly will be dissolved within 60 days of the constituent session if a government fails to be formed.
Both parties have rejected the possibility of restarting negotiations that would bring in different political parties. According to Mustafa, early elections are an option if the standstill continues and becomes unresolvable.
Kurti has said that Vetevendosje does not want another snap election. “What we want are new institutions, and we can reach that point only if in our negotiations for forming the government are led by both parties and respecting the values of transparency, justice and civic duty.”
26 December 2019 - 14:15