New elections in Kosovo or government reconstruction?

Foto: Koha

Kosovo Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj irrevocably resigned as prime minister yesterday. Haradinaj claims that he reached this decision after receiving a summons from the Office of the Special Prosecutor in the Hague in the capacity of a suspect. Whether Thaci will immediately call for new elections or offer a mandate to another person beforehand is the main question at the moment, as it can also affect the decision on taxes, but also the continuation of the dialogue.

The Kosovo public was shocked yesterday by Haradinaj’s resignation and the news that he received a call from the Special Prosecutor’s Office in the Hague. After an extraordinary press conference, during which the visibly upset Haradinaj started crying, numerous reactions arrived from Kosovo political actors, who mostly sent messages of support to the Kosovo Prime Minister.

Haradinaj wrote in a Facebook post that the pressure of the international community to pay Serbia’s price for recognition is unfair.

„The partition of the Republic of Dodik is too expensive for Kosovo and for the stability of the region,“ he wrote.

According to Haradinaj, in addition to the mistake being made by the international community by insisting on the price for recognition, the Kosovo leaders also made a mistake for „not supporting the legitimacy of the decision on taxes for Serbia.“

He stressed that Kosovo’s price for „mutual recognition“ should be a free market, not a „partition of the Republic of Dodik“.

Kosovo President, Hashim Thaci, per his constitutional mandate, before calling for extraordinary elections, may, in consultation with the ruling coalition and leading parliamentary parties, propose a new mandate. This mandate, if accepted, can form a new government, but in that case, the elections would be avoided, and the composition of the Assembly would not change.

This option for changing the government without elections was greatly discussed in the first two months of 2019 – when pressure on Haradinaj to abolish the taxes was the greatest. However, his government remained in power until yesterday, although at the time he resigned, the Kosovo opposition was close to collecting support for a vote of no confidence in Haradinaj’s government.

However, this option seems to be less possible now. The mandate should be offered to the coalition which won the highest number of votes in the previous elections. In this case, that is the PAN coalition, which includes Ramush Haradinaj’s party.

Haradinaj announced yesterday, however, that his resignation „returned the mandate to the people,“ implying that he is no longer a member of the PAN coalition, and that AAK wants to participate in the elections.

„It is now the president’s responsibility to start consultations for new elections. I will again place my faith in the people. I am not indicted, but I will be questioned. Both my party and I will participate in the elections. But I could not stay in the position of the head of government because I would be harming Kosovo,“ he said, reported Pristina-based Koha.

Calling new elections at this moment certainly suits Haradinaj’s AAK party. Haradinaj is at the peak of his popularity and is regarded as a person who withstood the pressure to abolish the taxes for the past seven months. At the same time, what is being perceived as the political nature of the invitation of the Special Prosecutor’s Office he received will certainly contribute to his popularity – as did his the arrest in Colmar under the Serbian arrest warrant on January 4, 2017. However, bearing in mind earlier speculation of Kosovo media that this prosecution is investigating post-war murders of Albanians, it is possible that this time Haradinaj will be under investigation for crimes that have nothing to do with Radonjic Lake. Including allegations about the involvement of the Haradinaj family in the 1999 murder of the Musaj brothers, for which Haradinaj’s brother was convicted, spending several years in prison.

Support for the new prime minister-designate may be offered by other parliamentary parties, however, the largest among them, the opposition LDK has declared last night that it is unwilling to be part of a technical government and that it wants new elections.

„There are elections in the country starting from today. The technical government is an insult to the LDK,“ said party leader Isa Mustafa. He urged Thaci to begin the consultation process with political parties regarding the date of new elections.

The third-largest parliamentary party, Self-Determination, announced that it does not want to „improvise“, but that it wants new elections.

„Such improvisations (like the technical government) are not a solution, but the problem. We do not want problems,“ Kurti said, reported Pristina-based Gazeta Express. Kurti announced that his party will continue to coordinate and communicate with the LDK.

Smaller parties, such as the PSD and NISMA, also announced they are in favor of new elections.

Government reconstruction is hardly imaginable without the votes of LDK or Self-Determination.

In that case, the Assembly would be dissolved and the ten-day deadline would start during which Kosovo President, Hashim Thaci must announce new general elections. After the elections are called, they will be scheduled not earlier than 30 and not later than 45 days after the dissolution of the Assembly.

The new constituent session of the assembly and the formation of the government can take several months, and during that period, the fate of the abolition of taxes on import of goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and the continuation of the dialogue remains unknown.

One of the last messages Haradinaj sent as prime minister yesterday was that the taxes will remain in force. In addition, following yesterday’s meeting with his party, he announced that the „Army of Kosovo“ – which will continue to develop, remained behind his government, as did Trepca, which is ready for investments.

Read more:

After Haradinaj, new invitations arrive from the Special Court, Thaci’s advisor invited as a suspect

Ramush Haradinaj resigns after being called to Hague war crimes court

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