The Kosovo government is a stepping stone for government positions in Belgrade

Nenad Rikalo afera
Nenad Rikalo

The former Kosovo Minister of Agriculture, Nenad Rikalo was appointed State Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of the Government of Serbia. Rikalo’s case, a former Kosovo politician receiving a government post in Belgrade, is not a novelty however. Both former Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, Branimir Stojanovic and the former Kosovo Minister for Return and Communities, Aleksandar Jablanovic were previously appointed State Secretaries in the Government of Serbia. Another case is former Kosovo minister of Local administration – Ljubomir Maric.

Tanjug reported that the decision on Rikalo’s appointment was reached on February 27th, following his dismissal from the function of Kosovo Minister of Agriculture by his coalition partner, Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj.

Rikalo’s dismissal was one of the demands that the opposition party, the PSD, placed before the Kosovo Prime Minister as a condition for receiving 12 votes from this party at the second reading of the draft Law on the Kosovo budget for 2019.

Dijana Zivic, a member of the SLS party, was appointed the Kosovo Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development almost a week ago.

The Kosovo Prime Minister’s decision to appoint Zivic was condemned by the Serbian top officials, who called Zivic a „private Serb“, „a fictitious minister for whose party not even 5% of Serbs voted“, „uneducated“ and „incompetent“. They also accused her of organizing and participating in the „1 out of 5 million“ protest against the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic in Gracanica.

The former Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, Branimir Stojanovic, also found himself on the payroll of the Serbian government, where he has been acting as State Secretary in the Ministry of Economy of Serbia since January last year.

Branimir Stojanovic- Drzavni Sekretar u Ministarstvu Privrede
Foto: RTV Vojvodina -Printscreen-

He was one of the most exposed members of Srpska Lista until the 2017 Kosovo parliamentary elections, after which his presence in the public greatly decreased. Speculation ran rampant that he was marginalized from Srpska Lista by the decision of official Belgrade.

The first member of Srpska Lista who was appointed State Secretary in the Serbian government was the former Kosovo Minister for Communities and return, Aleksandar Jablanovic, who is currently the leader of the Kosovo Serb Party.

He spent a short time in the ministry’s position. Jablanovic was forced to resign following a strong campaign launched against him by the Kosovo public after he called Albanians who protested against the arrival of displaced Serbs in Djakovica „savages“.

Jablanovic was also the State Secretary in the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy of the Republic of Serbia, led by his, at the time, party leader Aleksandar Vulin. Even in that position he stayed for only three months, from the end of October 2016 to January 2017, when he resigned after a drug smuggling affair in which his brother was allegedly involved.

Among this line of politicians from Kosovo in the Serbian government, the case of Ljubomir Maric can be described as unique. Maric is the former Kosovo Minister of Administration and Local Government, followed by a post in Belgrade – an Assistant to the head of the Serbian Government Kosovo Office. After his post in Belgrade, he is currently a member of the Management Board of the Development Fund for the North, formed under the Brussels Agreement.

In the early 2000s, two other Kosovo politicians who worked in the former provisional institutions of self-government in Kosovo, held posts in Belgrade as well. The assassinated Oliver Ivanovic served as State Secretary, while Kosovo Minister Goran Bogdanovic became minister in Belgrade. Both of them led the former Ministry of Kosovo and Metohija in the Serbian government, which was abolished by the arrival of the new government in 2012, after which the Kosovo Office was established.

 

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