Kosovo’s Constitutional Court convened (01.05) at an extraordinary session after being approached by the “Self-determination” party on April 30 for unconstitutional actions by the president in the nomination of a new prime ministerial candidate. With these actions “Self-determination” temporarily blocked the intentions of its former coalition partner, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) of Isa Mustafa, and the former ruling Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) of Ramush Haradinaj, to form a new government. The two parties thanks to their smaller partners managed to gather the required parliamentary majority of 61 votes, meeting president Hashim Thaci’s demand. As agreed by Mustafa, Haradinaj and Thaci, the LDK convened an extraordinary parliamentary session at 1 pm on 02.05, at which a government headed by Avdullah Hoti (LDK) had to be elected.
In its 32-page letter “Self-Determination” asked the Constitutional Court to rule on the lawfulness of the presidential decree granting Hoti a mandate to form a government. The request to the court is to suspend the vote to form a government and to repeal the presidential decree mandating Hoti as prime ministerial candidate.
Acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti insists that after the coalition government which was led by the party that won the election was overthrown as a result of the no confidence vote initiated by LDK, a new elections must be held, as the country’s constitution dictates.
“Self-determination” will ask the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe for an opinion on the lawfulness of president Thaci’s actions in which he ignores the winner of the election and insists on a new government supported by smaller parties.
In addition to the Constitutional Court, “Self-determination” invited all relevant institutions, such as the Presidency, Parliament, and the Ombudsman, to decide on the case by 12 pm on 01.05.
This was done solely by the Constitutional Court which in turn asked the president, government, parliament, and the ombudsman to comment on the suspension of the vote on 01.05 and the presidential decree. With the entry of the Constitutional Court into the procedure for determining the legality of the scheduled vote for the election of a new government, a vote in parliament cannot be held until the final decision of the constitutional judges.
“The Constitutional Court is committed to the priority of the urgent review of this case in accordance with its constitutional responsibilities and function”, the Court said in astatement.
If the Constitutional Court had not been referred to or had entered into a procedure to rule on the lawfulness of the presidential decree, Kosovo could have entered into a potentially dangerous scenario of creating two governments.
The court gave the aforementioned institutions one week, by May 8, to submit comments on the president’s decree.
Following the statement by the Constitutional Court, president Thaci said (02.05) that he would respect its decision. In a Facebook post he wrote: “I have just been informed of the decision by the Constitutional Court of Kosovo. As president of the republic, I will fully respect the decision. Kosovo has considerable experience in complying with all decisions by the Constitutional Court. This experience provides strong evidence of the rule of law in the country”.
LDK’s leader Isa Mustafa has stressed that his party will also adopt the court’s ruling but remain committed to forming a new government and believe that Hoti will be allowed to do this after the final ruling by the Constitutional Court of Kosovo which is expected by mid-May.
The timeframe required for the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe to come up with a decision is not yet known but its recommendations are not binding and only the decision of the Kosovo’s Constitutional Court is of importance, which in turn is not immune to the influence of the main political forces in the country.
The text of the constitution favors “Self-determination” insistence for new elections, following the vote of no confidence against the coalition government and an eventual court’s interpretation of the case in favor of forming a new government in the mandate of the current parliament, excluding Kurti’s party, has the potential to further deepen the political crisis in Kosovo.