By Kaltrina Beqiri (Independent scholar, graduated at the University of Prishtina)
The Pandemic of Covid-19 changed a lot for a lot of people around the world, for Kosovo it changed its government!
The wind of change which was felt after the last elections in October 2019, did not last long. On 3rd February 2020, roughly 4 months after the elections day, the new government composed of LVV and LDK,under the lead of Prime minister Kurti was elected by the Parliament. It consisted of 15 Ministries, 6 ministries for each of the government parties, 2 for the Serbian Progressive Party and one for the New Democratic Party.
It was called the ‘’government of hope’’ and it was intended to last at least 8 years, but what started with the aim of lasting for two mandates, ended for no more than 50 days. Only after 50 days in office in March 2020, the government fell due to the dismissal of Minister of Internal Affairs Agim Veliu (LDK) from Prime Minister Kurti.
At the very beginning of the Pandemic in mid-March 2020, Minister Veliu declared on a TV interview that he is supporting President Thaçi’s idea of declaring state of emergency due to the circumstances of the global pandemic. President Thaçi`s proposal of declaring state of emergency would have given him more executive power, which he misses after getting into the role of the President. After the dismissal of Minister Veliu, his party leader Isa Mustafa (LDK) declared the end of the government coalition due to the lack of trust between the coalition partners. The cause was the dismissal of one minister from Mr. Kurti without consulting with Mr. Mustafa before, which Mr. Mustafa considers this as a breach of agreement. After the fall of the coalition, the parliament members voted the non-confident vote to Mr. Kurti cabinet on 25th March 2020.
Although this is the official casus belli of the government fall, LVV never really felt comfortable on its leading position with only one MP more than the second ranked coalition partner LDK. As LVV had 29 MPs and LDK 28 MPs, LVV could not express its power on governing the country, since the difference in MPs is very low, and so is the difference on power sharing. LVV which took part for the very first time in government formation lacked on experience in co-governing. The first ranked party with only one MP more than its coalition partner, felt and behaved as it has won the majority of over 50% at the Parliament. Even while the coalition talks, LVV and LDK had its problems on collaborating and distributing their power. It was clear that the ‘’government of hope’’ would have a quite sorely path and in order to function many sacrifices would have to be taken from both sides. Sacrifices which would harm both parties in votes-claim on the upcoming elections. As none of them were really ready to sacrifice anything, it was clear that the life span of the government in this formation would not last long.
As LVV took part for the very first time in governing formation, it wanted to show up itself and appear that they are different from the other parties. LDK on the other hand, experienced for the first time after 2007, more support than the PDK. Both parties while being part of the government, actually started to prepare themselves for the upcoming elections, since both saw the chance of being either more powerful (LVV) or being the first ranked (LDK).
President Thaçi asked for (3) three times the first ranked party on last elections (LVV) for the name of its candidate for Prime Minister. Prime minister in leave Kurti did not provide the name of a candidate, because he was convinced that Kosovo needed new elections in order to form a new government. As LVV, Mr. Kurti Party is seen to grow day by day, and as a result it is of course in their favor to organize elections, in order to win more mandates at the parliament. Despite them, the other parties are not interested on new elections and the circumstances created as a result of the pandemic, are not in favor of elections. As Kurti did not provide a candidate name for Prime Minister to the President Thaçi, Mr. Thaçi asked the second ranked party on last elections (LDK) to name their candidate. LDK proposed at the time first deputy Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti as their candidate for Prime minister. Before the Parliament members could vote for Hoti`s cabinet, LVV asked / submitted a claim to the Constitutional Court, if the President has the right to mandate the candidate of the second ranked party as a Prime minister. The Constitutional Court needed (1) one month to declare its verdict, which resulted in favor to the President`s action on mandating the candidate from the second ranked party.
LDK held at the meantime coalition talks with AAK and NISMA, and already made a coalition agreement with the named parties and Serbian Progressive Party. On 6th June 2020 the new “unelected” government were elected by the parliament members. The new government consists of LDK, AAK, NISMA and SNS, under the lead of Avdullah Hoti as a Prime Minister. This government will have a difficult path ahead, since it was elected by only 61 votes (the minimal needed votes to form a government), and will have to face with the upcoming financial crises caused by the pandemic. Current government will be under immense pressure of a well prepared and experienced opposition (LVV) and last but not least the influence and pressure of President Thaçi, who actively lobbied on forming the coalition. President Thaçi´s interest consists in taking the lead on the Kosovo- Serbia dialogue.
LVV already started a petition on taking up the call for new elections which should be held after the pandemic, and the third ranked party PDK declared itself also in favor of new elections. Many Kosovo citizens have already signed the petition, since many of them do not see the newly formed government as legitimate due to the absence of the first ranked party on last elections (LVV), and partaking of AAK (which reached only 11% on last elections) and NISMA (which reached only 5,002%). Furthermore, Kosovo citizens voted Haradinaj’s cabinet (AAK) out of office on last elections, and seeing them taking part on government formation 8 months after the elections, caused rage and frustration for many of them.
Henceforth, it is quite problematic to predict the life span and success of the newly formed government.
Photo source: https://balkaninsight.com/2020/06/03/kosovo-parliament-confirms-new-govt-under-hoti/