Kosovo: Snap election protagonists known, but election date still to be determined

Kosovo: Snap election protagonists known, but election date still to be determined

The decision of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo, which ruled that the vote of MP Etem Arifi was unconstitutional, provoked a political crisis and the calling of snap election.

The verdict of the convicted MP Etem Arifi, gave the 61st vote and the majority to Avdullah Hoti for the formation of a government, but the appeal of the Vetevendosje Movement and the justification by the Constitutional Court led the country to new snap election.

Although the date of the elections has not been announced yet, the persons who will run for the two dominant positions of the President of the country and the Prime Minister are known in the political scene.

In the game for the two positions of power, there are old and new politicians, whether they are in power today or in opposition, and they were in power in the past.

Former Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj, Self-Determination Movement leader Albin Kurti and Assembly President Vjosa Osmani are optimistic about the post of prime minister, but at the same time have an eye on the presidency. A position sought for months by former KLA leader Ramush Hardinaj.

Enver Hoxhaj was the first to come forward as candidate for Prime Minister and other candidates are expected to follow his example, but procedural uncertainties prevent them from formally announcing their candidacy for the time being.

Such is the case of Vjosa Osmani, Kosovo’s executive president, who announced earlier that he would set up a new Citizens’ Initiative to run in the next elections. However, this has been hampered by the current situation, because according to the Kosovo Constitution, the president can not hold any public office, nor can he hold office in any political party.

There are two ways to overcome this reef. Either the current ruling parties agree and elect a new president of Kosovo, as elections are due in March next year, or Osmani resigns as vice president, opening the door, according to regulations, to run in the upcoming elections.

Another player who has been calling for elections for months is former Prime Minister Albin Kurti, who said after the Constitutional Court ruling that “I am the former, but I will also be the future Prime Minister of Kosovo”.

Unsurprisingly, he is in a hurry to go to the polls and break the image of the “eternal opposition”, but he may also fall victim to a decision he made.

The Constitutional Court ruled that Arifi’s vote was unconstitutional on the basis of Kurti’s “Self-Determination” Movement’s appeal, but the problem is that the Constitutional Court ruled that those convicted in the final three years could not participate in the elections.

And that is exactly the case with Kurti, who, along with some of his party members, were sentenced in 2018 to a suspended sentence for throwing tear gas at the Kosovo assembly. As things stand, his candidacy for the presidential election is removed.

Former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has been vying for the presidency for months, and a day after the Constitutional Court ruled, Kosovo Alliance for the Future vice-president Ahmet Isufi said the party would run in the snap parliamentary elections on its own.

“We are of the opinion that Mr. Haradinaj deserves to become president of the country, because in the past we had the opportunity to have party leaders in this position”, Isufi said.

However, according to Pristina’s “Bota Sot”, Haradinaj could step down and lead the party list in the snap elections. The article also recalls that Haradinaj said that if anyone from the Jashari family ran for the presidency, he would withdraw his candidacy.

There is growing speculation that Vljora Čitaku, the former Kosovo Ambassador to the United States, could also run for the Kosovo presidency as a political figure from the constellation of Thaci’s close associates.

This ambitious Kosovo politician was mentioned as the DPK’s candidate for Kosovo’s new President, even before the Hague accusations, which forced Hashim Thaci to step down as President to face the accusations leveled against him for his participation in the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Early parliamentary elections in Kosovo must be held no later than 40 days from the day of their announcement, and the current government of Avdullah Hoti remains in place until a new one is elected.

The Prime Minister, Avdullah Hoti, has stated that he does not yet know whether he will run for Prime Minister in the forthcoming snap elections and that the Democratic Alliance of Kosovo has several candidates for the post, with one arguably being better than the other./ibna