30 December 2020

Kosovo faces a complex situation that can lead to unpredictable developments in 2021

Stelian Teodorescu

In December 2018, the Kosovar prime-minister, Avdullah Hoti, along with the interim president of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, have removed the chief of the Kosovo Intelligence Agency, Kreshnik Gashi, because he tried to get classified information from president’s office.

Image source: Profimedia

Gashi was removed after an incident wherein a KIA inspector was found in president’s office, on November 6th, together with the former chief of intelligence, Driton Gashi, trying to get classified information from the safe. The latter was also the secretary of the former Kosovar president, Hashim Thaci, who has recently resigned because he was facing war crimes allegations in The Hague Court.

“There was coordination and an agreement between the effective president of Kosovo, Osmani, and the prime-minister A. Hoti on the removal of KIA director”, stated Bekim Kupina, the media councellor of the current Kosovar president. Therefore, we can state that, since 2009, Kosovo had five KIA chiefs and none has fully ended its mandate, because they all have resigned, except for Driton and Kreshnik Gashi.

However, on December 21st, another extremely important event has emerged and will definitely change the internal and external situation of Kosovo. The Kosovo Constitutional Court has decided that the government led by prime-minister A. Hoti is illegitimate. The reason is that the current government was voted by a majority in the Kosovo Assembly, which included also the vote of the deputy Etem Arifi, convicted to one year and three months of prison for corruption, on August 20th, but who got, however, the deputy mandate at the early parliamentary elections that took place on October 6th 2019.

The Constitutional Court of Kosovo argued its decision by saying that “a person convicted through a definitive decision, for a crime committed in the last three years, cannot run for deputy or win an available mandate in the Kosovo Assembly”.

As the E. Arifi vote for the A. Hoti government was void, they got to the conclusion that the “government did not get the majority of votes from all deputies in the Kosovo Assembly”, which was specified in court’s decision.

Therefore, now they think new parliamentary elections should be organized in the next months, following the decision of the Constitutional Court. This means that Kosovo will go through the third change of government in less than two years.

It is noteworthy that the government led by A. Hoti was voted on June 3rd, getting a minimum majority of 61 votes in the Kosovo Assembly, out of a total of 120 people, being created after its party, LDK, has removed the government previously led by Albin Kurti, the leader of the Vetevendosje Movement. We should not forget that, back then, 17 deputies of the Vetevendosje Movement have pressed charged against the government A. Hoti for being illegitimate, which led to Constitutional Court’s decision on December 21st.

Thus, the interim president of Kosovo, V. Osmani, met with the political parties to discuss the date of the next parliamentary elections, as underlined by the counselor Bekim Kupina.

The biggest opposition party in Kosovo, the Vetevendosje Movement, which pressed the charges in court, has welcomed the decision of the Constitutional Court, which will favor it. Albulena Haxhiu, a member of the Vetevendosje Movement, former minister of justice, has underlined that they have waited for such a decision from the Constitutional Court, considering that only 10 days after the A. Hoti was voted, the Vetevendosje Movement got to the conclusion that the vote is illegal.

The A. Hoti party, the Democratic League in Kosovo (DLK), seems to accept the decision, given that the “country is going to vote, and the Constitutional Court leaves no space for commentaries”, as stated by the deputy leaders of DLK, Lutfi Haziri.

Also, the prime-minister A. Hoti has repeatedly stated that they will have consultations with the political parties to discuss the election of the future president, after the H.Thaci’s resignation, but they did not choose a date yet. “We do not have a date yet, but as soon as that happens, we will let you know”, Antigona Bakhaku-Idrizi, a counselor of A. Hoti. stated.

After H. Thaci’s resignation, on November 5th, due to the war crimes allegations he was facing, the presidential responsibilities were handed over to the effective president, V. Osmani. However, according to the presidential provisions, the effective president can only be president for six months. A candidate for the presidential elections must get a majority of two thirds from the total number of the Kosovo Assembly members in order to be elected. If no candidate gets these two thirds, in two consecutive sessions, a third vote session is organized, and a 61 votes majority is enough to elect the president. Not electing a president through this process leads to the dissolution of the Kosovo Assembly and initiates early parliamentary elections.

So, the A. Hoti’s party, DLK, sought to start discussions on the free position, but the other parliamentary parties have different views on the election of the future president.

Also, the coalition partner of DLK in the current government, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, has stated in August that the leader of the party and former prime-minister, Ramush Haradinaj, is its presidency candidate. However, the proposal did not get enough support in the Kosovo Assembly, not even among the coalition partners of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo.

The opposition parties also have different points of view for the identification of the best way to get out of the crisis. The Democratic Party from Kosovo stated that its parliamentarians will not vote any candidate that is not appointed by the party, meanwhile the Vetevendosje Movement insists that a president can only be elected after new parliamentary elections. According to Albert Krasniqi, from the Democracy Plus NGO, the parliamentary political parties in Kosovo firstly think of their own interest: “What we are seeing in the political parties is not a nomination on criteria the candidates for presidency should accomplish, but a dispute on who will be the president and what party will nominate him”.

Meanwhile, A. Hoti's office has said in a press release that if the issue is not resolved through talks, the country will face new elections.

Moreover, Prime Minister A. Hoti promised to respond to a letter from EU Special Envoy for Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue, Miroslav Lajčák, who criticized the Kosovo government's decision not to allow Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić to visit Kosovo. In his letter, M.Lajčák says the Kosovo's decision is a violation of the Agreement on Freedom of Movement and the Agreement on Official Visits, while the Kosovo official stressed that "he has received a letter from M.Lajčák and will respond and any visit request will be treated accordingly”.

"As defined in the Agreement on Freedom of Movement, the individuals of each side can travel freely within the territory of the other", Mr. Lajčák stressed, stressing the importance of these agreements in the EU-led Kosovo-Serbia dialogue. "Failure to comply with these agreements sends a negative signal about Kosovo's credibility as part of the dialogue process," the EU official added.

However, on November 21, in an interview with the Albanian ABC press, Kosovo Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj Stublla stressed that "as long as Serbian President A.Vučić continues with the language of hatred and violence, he will not he will be allowed to enter Kosov", and the fact that the Minister of the Home Affairs, Aleksandar Vulin, is known to use derogatory expressions against Albanians is also underlined.

Therefore, we can say that Kosovo is currently facing a complex situation, which may lead to unpredictable developments in 2021 internally and, implicitly, might solve the Serbia-Kosovo case.


 [1] KIA is a Kosovo civilian intelligence agency responsible for providing national security information to decision-makers. KIA's mission is to identify threats to Kosovo's security. Such threats relate to acts against territorial integrity, the integrity of institutions, constitutional order, economic stability and development, as well as against global security, but which also affect Kosovo.

[2] In 2019, former Kosovo Prime Minister R. Haradinaj, in coordination with former President H.Thaçi, appointed K.Gashi as head of the Kosovo Intelligence Agency, KIA and Burim Ramadani as Inspector General. "The profiles of those appointed as public figures with integrity and security experts guarantee the professionalism and credibility of KIA", Haradinaj said when he made the appointments public.