Kosovo Opposition Parties Ready to Form A New Government

The leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj and the leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Isa Mustafa, both former Kosovo prime ministers, have finally (29.04) agreed to form a new government headed by Avdullah Hoti. The two parties were the main factor behind the vote of no-confidence on March 25 against the government of Albin Kurti which lasted only 52 days.

Haradinaj said he and Mustafa had reached an agreement on the division of power among the different ministries, adding that a new government would be formed soon.

The formation of a new government was made possible after president Hashim Thaci supported the idea of the two parties not to hold new parliamentary elections, as mandated by the constitution, but to allow for a new cabinet in the mandate of the current parliament in which the “Self-determination” party of Albin Kurti has the largest representation but it’s not sufficient to form a government alone.

Thaci gave his political support, stating (22.04) after meeting with the political leaders of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and the LDK that as a result of their expressed will to have a new government, he would give a mandate to the party or coalition which may provide a majority of at least 61 votes in the 120-seat local parliament.

The AAK and the LDK have far below the required 61 votes, and together with Fatmir Limaj’s Social Democratic Initiative (SDI) which has declared support for the new coalition, they have a total of 47 votes. Last week talks have been held with Behgjet Pacolli to include his party the New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) in the coalition, as well as representatives of different ethnic minorities. The newly formed coalition also needs the 10 votes of the Belgrade-backed ethnic Serb party Serb List, as well as the 10 votes of representatives of other minorities in Kosovo or the support of former ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) of Kadri Veseli (founder and former chairman of PDK until his election as president was Hashim Thaci).

„Self-determination“ protested the decision, declaring it unconstitutional and called for a new parliamentary election as soon as the coronavirus pandemic ends. Kurti intends to approach the Constitutional Court regarding the decision of president Thaci on giving a mandate to the newly created coalition to form a government. It is believed that Kurti has a reason for this, based on the text of the constitution, but on the other hand Thaci, as well as the former prime minister Haradinaj have a strong influence on the current composition of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo.

For the past two years, the party of Albin Kurti has been accusing the president Thaci of behind-the-scenes deals with Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic for partitioning Kosovo along ethnic lines, in return for recognizing Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.

At the same time, a group of researchers and experts from the Western Balkans and Europe have warned that after the formation of the new Kosovo government, a possible deal between Kosovo and Serbia, involving a swap of territories, becomes more possible.

In their report “Western Balkans in Times of the Global Pandemic” the researchers at BiEPAG (Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group) say such a deal signed by the presidents and facilitated by the US administration will have no democratic legitimacy and potentially would destabilize the region.

“Kosovo is the best example of how a pandemic can create a perfect storm to oust a newly appointed government. Despite the fact that the clashes between prime minister Kurti and president Thaci have been long-standing, the debate over the state of emergency which would empower the weakening figure of the president triggered a political crisis. Kosovo marks the first case in which a government has been toppled in a no-confidence vote during the COVID-19 pandemic. If the caretaker government is marginalized by the president – who, with the declaration of the state of emergency, will take full charge of the situation – there is a possibility of a Kosovo-Serbia agreement facilitated by the US administration signed between the two presidents, but lacking broader democratic legitimacy and  involving land swap, with all its destabilizing potential for the region”, experts warn in the report.

BiEPAG is a cooperation initiative between the European Fund for the Balkans (EFB) and the Center for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz (CSEES). Its purpose is to promote the integration of the Western Balkans into the EU and the consolidation of democracy in those countries.

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