The Kosovo Central Election Commission (CEC) has established a verification procedure for MP candidates, spokesman Valmir Elezi confirmed in an interview with EkonomiaOnline.
Several Kosovo institutions will participate in the candidate verification process – the Kosovo Judicial Council, the Electoral Complaints and Appeals Panel, the Ministry of Interior Affairs, the Kosovo Intelligence Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Defense, Elezi said.
The CEC established a new procedure following a decision by the Kosovo Constitutional Court which confirmed that a person convicted of a crime in the last three years cannot be verified as a candidate.
Thus far, the CEC has been able to refuse to verify only those candidates whose verdict specified that they were deprived of the right to be elected.
Despite a corruption verdict, MP Etem Arifi was verified and then elected as an MP. Arifi’s vote was one out of 61 votes required to vote in Avdullah Hoti’s government in the Kosovo Assembly.
After the Kosovo Constitutional Court declared Arifi’s vote as invalid, the government of Avdullah Hoti was also declared as illegal.
As a result, less than a year and a half since the last parliamentary elections were held, new elections are scheduled for February 14th.
The CEC will primarily rely on the Kosovo Judicial Council to implement the decision of the Constitutional Court.
„The Kosovo Judicial Council is one of the institutions the CEC will cooperate with during this phase of the election process. Therefore, we will forward the lists of all candidates to this institution to request verification as to whether they are in compliance with Article 29 of the Law on General Elections, in this case, paragraph Q of this law, which states that a candidate cannot be verified if it is a person who was found guilty of a crime by a final court verdict in the last 3 years,“ Elezi told EkonomiaOnline.
The CEC will request an assessment of the suitability of the candidates for candidacy from a total of six above-mentioned Kosovo institutions, and it will have a two-day deadline to do so – from January 18th – which is the deadline for submitting applications – to January 20th, when these institutions are expected to provide their assessments.
The candidate whose verification is rejected has the right to submit an appeal. The deadline to submit an appeal ends on January 31st.
„Once we receive assessments from these institutions, the office will submit recommendations to the CEC for it to approve or reject the candidacies of political entities and candidates. In the event that a political entity or candidate is not approved, he or she may appeal to the Electoral Appeals and Petitions Panel. The case can also be referred to the Supreme Court if the party is dissatisfied with the EAPP’s decision. The CEC will act in accordance with the decisions of these institutions,“ Elezi told EkonomiOnline.
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