Kosovo hopes to end political deadlock as Vetevendosje movement propose PM

Mon 20 Jan 2020

Kosovo hopes to end political deadlock as Vetevendosje movement propose PM

After three-months of negotiations the Vetevendosje (LVV) movement has finally proposed their leader Albin Kurti as the next prime minister. The official proposal by Vetevendosje triggers a 15-day deadline, set by the constitution, which prescribes that Kurti has to present his cabinet before the deadline ends. This cabinet has to be approved by the majority of the parliamentary assembly, before it can take office. As biggest party, following the parliamentary elections of 2019, the Vetevendosje movement had the right to nominate Kosovo’s next prime minister first. But Vetevendosje didn’t obtain a majority in the parliament and has been locked in negotiations with the second biggest party, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), about the proposed line-up of the cabinet.

LDK and LVV point to each other
In recent months both parties have blamed each other for the prolonged set of negotiations, with both party leaders using social media and open letters to accuse the other of delaying the formation process. Initially the distribution of ministerial posts between the two parties was the main issue, but this seems to have been resolved. According to reports the LDK will have more ministerial posts while the PM will be from the LVV. But as this problems seems to be resolved new ones emerged. The LVV proposed Glauk Konjufca as speaker of the parliament, who was subsequently accepted by the majority of the assembly, including the LDK. But according to reports the LDK now wants the post of parliamentary speaker until its presidential nominee is elected in the 2021.  But representatives of the LVV don’t want to include any conditions for the presidential election in the coalition agreement as they don’t see it as a pressing issue. Furthermore, Kurti argued that the parliamentary speaker has already been elected and the LVV has already made concessions by increasing the amount of ministerial posts to satisfy the LDK. Still, with the 15 day deadline in sight a solution to resolve the current stalemate doesn’t look imminent.

Domestic and international pressure
In the meantime president of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, has demanded several times that the Vetevendosje movement would propose a prime minister, which finally happened on 20 January. But also hinted at the possibility of giving another party the chance to create a government, if LVV fails to do so within the 15 day timeframe. Would be opposition parties publicly criticized the formation process, with outgoing PM, Daut Hardinaj, wondering if the LVV wants new elections. “The division of responsibilities doesn’t seem to be a problem for them. It looks more like a lack of readiness from their side to lead the institutions in these important times for our country”. EU’s High Representative, Joseph Borrell, urged Kosovo leaders to “rapidly proceed” with government formation talks in the interest of Kosovo and its people.

New elections are looming
The constitution of Kosovo doesn’t envisage a deadline for the formation of a government as long as no PM nominee is proposed. This allow parties to engage in lengthy formation talks, as has been the case the last months. Now Kurti has been nominated as PM, the Kosovar people hope a new government will be proposed and accepted by the parliament. After the announcement Kurti called on the LDK to sit down and negotiate a deal, as the 15 day deadline will force both parties to make concessions. The Austrian newspaper Der Standard claimed that if a new government isn’t proposed before the end of the deadline, new elections are the most likely option. With this in mind representatives of the LDK and LVV will think twice about stalling the formation talks, as both parties will likely loose voters for their failure to reach a compromise. The international community has been waiting for the formation of a new government as special envoys for the EU and U.S have been waiting to restart the Serbia-Kosovo talks, aimed at resolving the current tensions between both countries. As Kosovo implemented 100% tariffs on all goods entering from Serbia and Serbia failing to recognize Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Still it remains to be seen whether the LDK and LVV can set aside their differences on the line-up of a new government and the approach to the presidential election before the deadline expires.  

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