Still no date set for discussions on Kosovo’s next president

Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti has long stated that consultations will be held with Kosovo’s political parties to discuss the issue of Kosovo’s next president, but no date for the talks has yet been confirmed with parties divided over the best course of action.

The Kosovo Government has not yet set a concrete date for a roundtable discussion between political parties on the issue of the country’s next president. Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti first mentioned the need for consultations between parties over the issue on November 16, but no official meeting has yet been held.

The Office of the Prime Minister told BIRN on Monday that a date will be announced as soon as it is confirmed. “We still do not have a concrete date, as soon we do, we will inform you,” said Antigona Baxhaku-Idrizi, an advisor of Prime Minister Hoti.

After President Thaci’s resignation on November 5, presidential duties have been handled by acting President Vjosa Osmani. However, according to the Kosovo Constitution, an acting president can only occupy the position for six months, while the Constitution also dictates that a new president must be elected 30 days before the end of the current president’s mandate. 

A presidential candidate must receive a two thirds majority vote at the Kosovo Assembly to be elected, although, if no candidate receives two thirds of the vote in two initial ballots, a third vote is triggered, in which a majority of 61 votes is enough to secure the presidency. Failure to elect a president through this process automatically dissolves the Kosovo Assembly, and triggers early parliamentary elections.

Hoti’s party, the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, has been seeking to initiate discussions over the vacant post of president, but the other parliamentary parties are divided over the election of the next president.

LDK’s junior coalition partner in the current government, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, stated in August that their presidential candidate is party leader and former prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj. However, this position did not pick up much support at the Assembly, including among AAK’s coalition partners.

Meanwhile, opposition parties are also divided over the best route out of the deadlock. The Democratic Party of Kosovo have stated that they will not vote for any candidate that is not nominated by the party, while Vetevendosje insist that a president can only be elected following fresh parliamentary elections.

According to Albert Krasniqi from the Democracy Plus NGO, Kosovo’s parliamentary political parties are thinking far more about their own self interests than the issue of electing a president.

“What we see from all political parties is not a nomination, or criteria that a candidate for president should fulfill, but disputes over who [the president will be] and which party will take this position,” Krasniqi told BIRN, adding that the process doesn’t raise hope over the suitability of the next president.

In a press release on Monday, the Office of the Prime Minister emphasised the readiness of political parties to achieve a solution to the deadlock over the next president, adding that if the issue is not resolved the country will face elections.

14/12/2020 - 15:18

14 December 2020 - 15:18

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.