By Shqipe Mjekiqi (R.I.T Kosovo)
The new Government of Kosovo under Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj was constituted on September 9th; nearly three months after parliamentary elections took place on June 11th. Although the Government took less time to form than it did following the elections of 2014, the reasons for the delay were pretty much the same. After all, politics is about ‘who gets what, when and how’ and Kosovo marks no exception to that.
The main struggle to form the Government for the winning coalition PAN (a coalition of 12 parties led by PDK), that obtained 34% of the votes (39 seats), was to secure simple majority (61 votes) in Parliament. This was not an easy task considering that the elections produced a considerably difficult outcome in terms of coalition bargaining. While PAN had already agreed on how the pie would be split among coalition partners, most importantly that Ramush Haradinaj of AAK would become Prime Minister, Vetevendosje! which obtained 27% of the votes and received 32 seats as well as LDK (in a coalition with AKR) which gained 26% of the votes or 29 seats were opposed to forming a government with PDK. The former had supported the initiative to bring down the previous PDK Government; pretty much under its own caprices, while the latter was in coalition with PDK when the motion passed. The remaining 20 seats (out of 120) went to minority parties because of guaranteed seats, as required by the Constitution, whereas a number of smaller parties were left out as they were unable to pass the 5% threshold.
The Parliamentary session which led to the government formation on September 9th, was a real saga. It held a total of seven meetings, which were rather a continuation of the first one that began on August 3rd. As long as the first session was held within the 30 day period after the publication of official results by the Central Election Commission (CEC), the law did not give any limits to when this constitutive session should end.
Both the delay in publishing the official results by CEC and the parliamentary saga gave PDK considerable amount of time to get AKR on board after it promised to give her four ministries, including the position of the Foreign Minister and one deputy Prime Minister. Today’s Government numbers 21 ministries , and five deputy Prime Ministers, the biggest ever since Kosovo held its first parliamentary election in 2001, and bigger than most governments in the region. The increased number of ministries, including five on economic related sectors was a result of the need to accommodate all coalition partners, including the minority parties such the Serbian List (SL) which got 9 seats. The same cannot be said for women as only two out of the 21 ministries are headed by them, despite the 30% quota for women representation in Parliament.
In terms of parties, AKR was the biggest winner as it obtained 5 positions with only 3 seats in Parliament and that if it ran alone it would probably have a hard time passing the electoral threshold. Yet, individually, Ramush Haradinaj is equally a champion. Since he left the prime ministerial office in March 2004 and headed to The Hague (ICTY) under war crime charges which were later cleared, Ramush Harandinaj became Prime Minister again after 13 years in waiting. Persistence, after all paid off.
It is difficult to see that this Government will last long. A small margin of government over opposition suggests the coalition will have a hard time getting any legislation through. One thing is clear however, that the Government has started its tenure very ‘ambitiously’ by taking a number of decisions including that to withdraw Kosovo’s membership application in INTERPOL, two years after an application was made and days before the General Assembly Session was held in China which paved the way for the other two applicants, Palestine and Solomon Islands to join.
Photo source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-09/haradinaj-forms-new-kosovo-government-as-eu-urges-reforms