The post of president is emerging as a key obstacle to the creation of a new government in Kosovo following an October election as Vetevendosje and the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, argue over how to divide the spoils of government, analysts say.
“The president’s post is the main obstacle because it causes an imbalance among the partners in sharing government,” analyst Nexhmedin Spahiu told BIRN.
“Vetevendosje, as the party with the most votes, has an advantage, and it looks that they are requesting compensation with other posts in order to let LDK have the presidency when [Hashim] Thaci’s mandate expires.”
Kosovo’s likely next prime minister, Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti, and Isa Mustafa of the LDK met one-on-one on Saturday, after which Kurti’s party said they “harmonised 100 per cent of the government programme.” A signing ceremony was announced for Monday, but Monday passed without pen being put to paper.
“We have agreed regarding the government programme and other issues that are harmonised between our working groups,” Mustafa said on Monday. “We have some other issues which we discussed with Mr Kurti and which need to be agreed and which could help in striking the deal.”
Thaci’s term as president ends in April 2021. Kosovo’s president is elected by parliament and so is decided between the political parties.
Spahiu said the two parties had better agree soon so that they can press ahead with a stack of urgent issues facing the country, not least approval of a budget for next year and the resumption of European Union-mediated negotiations with Serbia.
“They will be forced to come to terms because Kosovo’s allies are in a hurry to see the new government as soon as possible,” said Spahiu. “But it looks like they [the international community] are not keen to see Vetevendosje and LDK decide on the future president one and a half years in advance,” Spahiu said.
Vetvendosje tool 29 of parliament’s 120 seats, narrowly ahead of LDK on 28.
Kurti appears to have secured a majority thanks to the support of ethnic minority representatives from the Turkish, Bosniak, Roma and Egyptian communities.
Kurti, however, risks a potential constitutional crisis over the role of the only minority Serb party in parliament, the Belgrade-backed Srpska Lista.
The party, which has 10 seats in the new parliament, says it is guaranteed a minister’s post in Kurti’s cabinet by the constitution. Kurti, however, says Srpska Lista is simply a tool of Belgrade and that he is obliged only to include an ethnic Serb minister, but not necessarily from Srpska Lista.