President Thaci in a meeting with Quint ambassadors. Photo: Office of President of Kosovo.

Thaci push for ‘unifying’ new government deemed futile

Experts say the president’s push for the formation of a new government – following last week’s no-confidence in Albin Kurti’s administration – is unlikely to succeed.

President Hashim Thaci stated on Monday that he will launch talks with party leaders this week over how to best proceed with the formation of Kosovo’s new government. 

The president also stated the need for a government that will “bring stability, and greater political and civic unity,” and has previously spoken of the need to avoid elections.

However, legal experts have told BIRN that his hands are largely tied when it comes to the formation of a new cabinet, and success in this venture looks unlikely.

According to one such expert, Arber Ahmeti, Thaci “cannot ignore the party or coalition that has won the majority of votes, but it is in his discretion to appoint a new candidate [for Prime Minister] after consultation with political parties.”

Despite this function, Ahmeti believes that the president’s role in this process should be largely ceremonial. “The President takes such steps only after the proposal by the [largest] political party,” he said. “It is not in his […] power to choose a name or influence the formation of the government.”

The largest party in the Kosovo Assembly, Albin Kurti’s Vetevendosje, so far seems uninterested in nominating another Prime Minister-designate, however, and is opting for early elections instead.

On Sunday, Kurti, who remains acting Prime Minister, wrote on Facebook that Thaci was going against the constitution in calling for talks on a new unity government. He insisted that this can happen only if the Prime Minister resigns, and not if the government is voted out through a no-confidence motion in the Assembly.

Kurti insisted that Thaci ought to dissolve the Kosovo Assembly and call early elections “as soon as the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic ends.”

Thaci has said that the formation of a unity government was essential in order to fill an “institutional vacuum.” However, Lulzim Peci, the director of the Kosovar Institute for Policy Research and Development think tank, told BIRN that these concerns were simply inaccurate.

“There is no vacuum in terms of executive power,” Peci said, adding that the old government remains in place, but without the right to “process laws in the Assembly.”

The two main options currently facing Kosovo are the dissolution of the Assembly, which would ordinarily trigger snap elections within 45 days, or the nomination of a new candidate for Prime Minister by the party with the most representatives in the Assembly, i.e. Vetevendosje.

Another aspect further complicating the matter is that Vetevendosje does not have a deadline to nominate the new candidate for Prime Minister, and can also refuse to do so.

If Vetevendosje were to nominate a successor to Kurti, who was rejected by the Kosovo Assembly, that right will likely go to the party with the second largest number of votes, which is its former junior partner in government, the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK.

Following the dismissal of the government, LDK leader Isa Mustafa ruled out forming a coalition with the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK. However, Mustafa said an agreement may be possible with smaller parties in the Assembly, including the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, and NISMA, and did not exclude the possibility of working with Vetevendosje for a second time. 

30/03/2020 - 18:18

30 March 2020 - 18:18

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.