Party leaders divided over steps to form Kosovo’s next government

The leaders of Vetevendosje, LDK and PDK offered differing solutions for the formation of Kosovo’s next government following meetings with President Hashim Thaci on Wednesday.

President Hashim Thaci held consultative meetings with the leaders of the three largest political parties represented in the Kosovo Assembly on Wednesday to discuss the formation of Kosovo’s next government, following the dismissal of the incumbent government on March 25.

Following previous votes of no confidence in 2010 and 2017, the president has dissolved the Kosovo Assembly, as per article 82 of the Kosovo Constitution, triggering snap elections within 45 days. However, with Kosovo in the midst of an outbreak of coronavirus, leaders are divided over the best course of action.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Thaci stated that all actions he will take as president to resolve the crisis will be transparent and in line with both the Kosovo Constitution and legislation – as well as previous practice that has followed votes of no confidence against the government. 

“My basis will be to respect, in full, the legitimacy of the October 6 election, while taking into account the motion of no confidence held on March 25,” Thaci said, adding that a decision will be announced tomorrow following meetings with other party leaders.

Vetevendosje leader and acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti told the press after his meeting with Thaci on Wednesday that the only solution is new elections. 

“I know we are in an intensive battle against coronavirus and that can potentially delay the date of elections, but the Kosovo Constitution does not offer any other alternatives,” Kurti said.

However, following their meetings with Thaci, LDK’s Isa Mustafa and PDK’s Kadri Veseli both spoke out against elections as a solution to the crisis.

Mustafa stated that LDK were in favour of forming a new government that would have “the full capacity to engage in the fight against the coronavirus, which is expanding in our country, as it is in other countries.” 

The LDK leader added that he had only discussed “political will” to form a new government with the president, rather than which parties might make up the next administration. He also said that the party would not enter into any process not provided for by the Kosovo Constitution, but pointed out that the 82 MPs that voted to dismiss the government would also be capable of amending the Constitution through the Assembly.

Speaking to the press after his meeting with Thaci, PDK leader Veseli described calling for an early election during the pandemic as “hypocritical.”

“All we are demanding is respect for the constitution,” Veseli said. “The will of the people is more legitimate, but when we are facing a pandemic, it is hypocrisy to call for extraordinary elections  when we know that elections cannot be held within 45 days.” Veseli added that PDK would remain in opposition rather than join any new government formed.

Ramush Haradinaj, the leader of Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, and NISMA leader Fatmir Limaj have both previously expressed willingness to support the formation of a new government and avoid elections.

“Why should we have elections? Elections are good if the Assembly cannot create a parliamentary majority,” Haradinaj said on Monday. “But if there is no [parliamentary majority], we have to go to the polls.”

Meanwhile, Limaj stated on Tuesday that a government could be formed if LDK presented a candidate for prime minister who could command a parliamentary majority. “If LDK has the prime minister and can make 61 votes, why not?” Limaj said. “It depends a lot on the candidate for prime minister, but a government can be formed.”

A Constitutional Court ruling from 2014 declares that in forming a new government, the party or coalition with the highest number of votes from the parliamentary elections, which in October 2019 was Vetevendosje, has the exclusive right to first nominate a candidate for prime minister to the president. 

Only if the candidate fails to win a majority vote in favour of their election when presented to the Kosovo Assembly does the right transfer to other parties or coalitions.

01/04/2020 - 14:01

01 April 2020 - 14:01

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