The International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) in Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses events in the Middle East and the Balkans. IFIMES has prepared an analysis of the post-election situation in Kosovo following the early parliamentary election which was held on 11 June 2017 and the launch of the negotiations for the formation of the new government. The most relevant and interesting sections from the analysis entitled “Kosovo:Is Aleksandar Vučić the key actor in the formation of the new Kosovo government?”are given below.
On 11 June 2017 the third (early) parliamentary election took place in Kosovo since the country proclaimed independence on 17 February 2008.
The Kosovo Assembly (parliament) has 120 members, of which 20 seats are reserved for representatives of minority communities as follows: 10 seats for the Serbian community, 3 for the Bosniak community, 2 for the Turkish community, 4 for the Roma (RAE – Romani, Ashkali and Egyptians) and 1 for the Gorans.
The main race at the last early parliamentary election in Kosovo took place between the coalitions of three main political rivals:Kadri Veseli's (or actually Hashim Thaçi's) Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), Isa Mustafa's Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and Albin Kurti's “Vetëvendosje” Self-Determination Movement (LVV).
LDK formed coalition with New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) led by the controversial businessman Behgjet Pacolli, and with Ilir Deda's “The Alternative”, while PDK formed coalition with the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) led by Ramush Haradinaj and with the party “Nisma” Initiative for Kosovo led by Fatmir Limaj and nine other minor parties.
In its previous analyses the IFIMES International Institute pointed out that they were all non-principled coalitions that had already been tested on the political scene, and whose only goal was to remain in power and to avoid judicial prosecution.
TheSelf-Determination Movement(LVV) run the election as an independent party and as such won the highest number of parliament seats, while their prime minister candidate Albin Kurti won the highest number of votes (143,621) and has thus been nominated for prime minister of the Republic of Kosovo by his voters. LVV has not participated in the state-level government yet.
11 July 2017 election results have shown that Kosovo citizens want some tectonic changes and that Kosovo has to form a new government that will serve the interests of its people instead of narrow political parties' and individuals' interests.
Kosovo Central Election Commission (CIK) published the election results according to which the PDK (PAN) coalition received 33.74% votes, LVV 27.49% votes and LDK (LAA) coalition 25.53% votes.
Based on those results 39 parliament seats belong to the PAN coalition, 32 to LVV and 29 to the LAA coalition, while the Serbian list receives nine seats and Serbian Liberal Party (SLS) one seat. The remaining 10 seats belong to the representaives of other ethnic minorities: Bosniaks, Turks, Roma, Gorans, Egyptians and Ashkali.
The social-democratical oriented Self-Determination Movement(LVV) is the convincing winner of the election while Kadri Veseli's PDK is the main loser with only 23 individually won seats, which is the same number of seats won by Isa Mustafa's LDK. Ramush Haradinaj's AAK ranks the fourth with 10 seats while Fatmir Limaj's Nisma received 6 seats.
An interesting feature of previous elections was that the key political actors nominated their prime minister candidates before the election campaign started. According to the number of votes received the voters expressed highest support to the prime minister candidate Albin Kurti (LVV) with 143,621 votes, Kadri Veseli (PDK) with 129,947 votes and Avdullah Hoti (LDK) with 115,693 votes. Thus the voters clearly showed who they want to see in the prime minister function, while Ramush Haradinaj won only 102,127 votes.
Analysts have noted a synchronised campaign and attacks by political-criminal structures in Kosovo and Serbia and an attempt to discredit the social-democratic LVV movement and Albin Kurti. They are obviously aware that after the election the moment of truth has arrived which means that Kosovo will have to go through the process of decriminalisation of politics in order to stop the emigration trends, ensure better prospects to its citizens through economic development, implement the rule of law and assert Kosovo as a young state at the regional and international level.
After the Self-Determination Movement won the parliamentary election, Kosovo's President Hashim Thaçi on his own motion and synchronously with the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić adopted the decision to raise the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština from the prime-ministerial to the presidential level. Aleksandar Vučić did the same when Ana Brnabić was elected Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, justifying his decision with the very demanding and complex Brussels dialogue and stating that the new Prime Minister is not able to meet that challenge as she lacks the necessary knowledge. At the same time he praised Ana Brnabić as the best choice for the leader of Serbia's government. As regards the complexity of the Brussels dialogue Vučić explained that when it comes to telecommunications one should have the necessary knowledge in that field which cannot be obtained in half an hour and which takes months to accomplish. Allegedly Vučić, who is a lawyer by profession but has never worked in this area, possesses the necessary knowledge also in the field of telecommunication although he is not a telecommunications engineer according to our knowledge. All the areas covered by the Brussels dialogue actually fall within the competence of governments and not presidents.
Analysts believe that Vučić and Thaçi have coordinated their actions based on the “communicating vessels” principle, being aware of the fact that they need to prolong the Brussels agreement as much as possible in order to remain politically alive. Without the EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Priština they would become “redundant”.
It is known that through its security and intelligence system Serbia performs services in the interest and for the account of third countries in the region. It is no secret that it has recently performed and is still performing such services in Macedonia in order to protect the already collapsed regime of Nikola Gruevski (VMRO-DMNE), which confirms the known fact that regimes in the region closely cooperate in order to remain in power. This was the case with Vučić, Thaçi, Gruevski and others. The Serbian-Russian attempt to prevent Zoran Zaev and the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) coalition to win the election was unsuccessful. Continued pressure on Macedonia and its new government was exerted when Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić during his visit to Greece stated that Serbia should not recognise the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name. In this way Serbia is trying to curry favour with Russia and justify Serbia's role in the failed coup d’état in the Republic of Macedonia which was carried out to prevent Zaev and SDSM to gain power.
It is generally known in Kosovo that the New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) president Behgjet Pacolli is a “Russian man” – that is why he performed the office of the President of the Republic of Kosovo for only 40 days. In the meanwhile Pacolli has gained attention again in connection with selling/buying MPs. Namely the PAN coalition and minority parties still need two parliament seats in order to reach the 61 seat majority in the Kosovo Assembly. Pacolli would “borrow” those two seats from his four MPs.
Analysts have warned that eventual selling/buying of MPs would seriously undermine the young Kosovo democracy which has clearly stated at the recent election that it wants some tectonic changes, and this is the only way for this young state to survive. Activities related to the selling/buying of MPs should be investigated by Kosovo prosecutor's office and all the persons responsible and involved in this process should be appropriately sanctioned for this criminal offence which was executed against the democratic will of Kosovo citizens and with the aim to gain power through criminal activities.
Russia's role in the formation of the new Kosovo government is based on returning the favour to (compensating) Serbia for its involvement in Macedonia. Thus through Russia Vučić is trying to play the key role in the formation of the new Kosovo government. Pacolli's activities therefore require urgent action from Kosovo prosecutor's office.
Vučić and the whole political corps in Belgrade are gradually losing credibility. Only a few days before last election Ramush Haradinaj said that he would be insulted to have Serbia and Serbs as partners and stated that: “Should we need the votes, we will get them from the Albanians. Should we need MPs for the coalition, we will not take those who block processes.” Now Belgrade wants Haradinaj to take over the office of the Kosovo Prime Minister.
The interpretation of the Kosovo Constitutional Court judgement of 1 July 2014 that only a political party or coalition with the highest number of votes has the right to form the government is wrong and misleading in some parts. This has caused a six-month long political blockade in 2014. It is worrying that the same situation may happen now unless the President of the Republic of Kosovo takes the decision on the basis of his discretionary right in order to avoid the blockade.
In order to pull Kosovo out of the deep crisis, the prime minister candidate Albin Kurti offered a programme with 40 concrete points and invited several times LDK president Isa Mustafa to avoid the political crisis by forming the government together since they would have a 61 seat majority in the parliament.
The IFIMES International Institute believes that unless the Self-Determination Movement manages to form the government with Kurti as the new prime minister, it would be best for LVV to join the opposition since the eventual new Kosovo government would not remain in power long and the Self-Determination would triumph at the next election.
Some distinguished foreign constitutional lawyers have analysed the Kosovo Constitutional Court judgement No. KO 103/14 in relation to Article 95 (1 and 4) of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo and made the following conclusions:
1/President of the Republic of Kosovo is obliged to propose, after consultation with the political party or coalition (which is registered before the election pursuant to the General Election Act) which won the absolute or relative majority in the Assembly, the prime minister proposed by that party or coalition.
2/ In case the proposed candidate does not receive the required number of votes in the Assembly, the President has the right and the duty to propose another candidate of his own choice for prime minister after consultation with the parties or coalitions (which are registered before the election pursuant to the General Election Act).
3/ In line with the Constitution the President is obliged to represent the state and all its people and to ensure stability of the state and the functioning of its political system. Therefore, it is also the President's obligation to propose, in consultation with the political parties, the prime minister candidate who would be able to successfully form the government. The President is obliged to propose the prime minister candidate who is regarded to be able to receive the required support in the Assembly. Ignoring the political party or coalition which would be able – based on the election result and agreements with other political parties – to propose the prime minister and the government that could receive the required support in the Assembly would therefore mean that the President does not act in bona fides as is expected from him in line with the Constitution. It would mean that he does not respect the interest of the state in ensuring political stability, which would be contrary to the Constitution.
5/ In the concrete political and constitutional situation following the recent election in Kosovo the following would be legally correct:
a/President of the Republic of Kosovo should, after consultation with the wining PDK coalition, propose the candidate of the PDK-based coalition Ramush Haradinaj as the prime minister candidate.
b/ In case this candidate (Haradinaj) does not receive support in the Assembly, the President should, after consultation with the political parties, propose the prime minister candidate which is proposed by the political party that received the second largest number of parliament seats, i.e. the Self-Determination Movement (LVV) and its prime minister candidate.
Ljubljana, 14 July 2017