Kosovo with New Government and PM Avdullah Hoti
Kosovo’s parliament on Wednesday confirmed in office a new government led by Avdullah Hoti, the deputy leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, the junior party in the last government that initiated the no-confidence motion in March that toppled it.
MPs voted in the new government exactly four months after voting in Albin Kurti’s Vetevendosje-led government on February 3.
With only 86 MPs present in the 120-seat chamber, 61 MPs voted for the new cabinet, 1 abstained and 24 voted against.
The session was conducted by the second deputy speaker, Kujtim Shala, from the LDK. The first deputy speaker, from Vetevendosje, Arberie Nagavci, refused to direct the session.
The new government is a coalition between the LDK, which has 28 seats, the Social Democratic Initiative, NISMA, with four seats, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, with 13 seats, and the Belgrade-backed ethnic Serbian party, Srpska Lista, with 10 seats.
Nine representatives of other minority communities also voted for the new government.
Only 86 MPs were present in the chamber because MPs from Vetevendosje, the largest party in parliament, did not attend.
The leader of the party’s parliamentary group, Rexhep Selimi, who has demanded new elections, dismissed the new government as an “illegal enterprise”.
A small group citizens took to the streets of the capital, Pristina, to protest against the holding of a parliamentary session to vote in a new government. Police intervened when some protesters tried to enter the government building.
“Thieves in prison!”, “We want elections”, and “Albin [Kurti], wherever you are, all of Kosovo is there with you”, were some of the calls protesters made. A sign read: “I won’t allow my vote to be manipulated.”
Vetevendosje had said that it would neither organize a public protest nor stop citizens from doing so.
Flutura Zymi, one of the protesters, told the media that the new Hoti government was “not a promise but a manipulation, a theft of votes … this is vote theft”.
The new government took office after the Constitutional Court ruled that President Hashim Thaci did not act unconstitutionally by giving a mandate to Hoti to form a new administration without holding fresh elections.
However, the new government faced criticism from several members of the parties forming the new coalition ahead of the vote.
LDK MP Vjosa Osmani publicly opposed the no-confidence motion that toppled Kurti’s government, and also opposed the new Hoti-led government.
On Tuesday, she told BIRN that “a transitional government with a term of six to nine months, run by a unifying figure and technical ministers” would be the best solution for the country, so that the new government would not need to depend on Srpska Lista.
Similarly, another LDK deputy leader, Lutfi Haziri, told BIRN on Tuesday that a “government that I do not trust is being built”.
But their party leader disagreed. Isa Mustafa, leader of the LDK, insisted on Tuesday that the new Hoti-led government was not “a transitional government but a government with a full mandate, assuming the tasks that the constitution provides for”.
Haxhi Shala, an MP from NISMA, told the media he was not sure whether he would vote for the new government even before the vote took place on Wednesday.
Meanwhile the new government said it planned to restart the stalled EU-led dialogue with Serbia by coordinating its activity with the President.
Former PM Kurti had pushed for the government to lead the dialogue, trying to exclude the President from the negotiating table.
President Thaci has so far led the talks together with his Serbian counterpart, President Alexandar Vucic.
Kurti had accused Thaci of rushing to reach an agreement on relations with Vucic in Washington.
Asked by BIRN whether he would be willing to go to Washington with Thaci to negotiate with Serbia, Hoti on Tuesday said only that he “would not hesitate to … take responsibility for the country, including the dialogue process, and create the necessary institutional cohesion for this process”.
Mustafa told BIRN on Tuesday that he “would not agree for the dialogue to [continue to] be led by the President” – although he also admitted that a previous Constitutional Court decision had ruled that “the government directs foreign policy in consultation with the President”, which he said would be the way the new government would proceed./BalkanInsight
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