Ramush Haradinaj, former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and soon to be Prime Minister reached a coalition agreement last week.
Resulting from the snap legislative elections organized on June 12th that followed the motion of censure against Isa Mustafa’s government (who was president of the LDK), it appeared that Haradinaj’s so-called “Warriors Coalition” had obtained almost 34% of the casted ballots. However, gathering only 39 seats at the Kosovan Parliament, it was far from the required majority (61 seats) to form a government.
The two other major political formations in the country, the Vetëvendosje nationalist party and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) obtained 32 and 29 seats respectively. They had expressed from the very beginning their refusal to ally Mr. Haradinaj to help him form a government. As a result, a political crisis and lengthy negotiations started between them.
After three months of unexpected development, Haradinaj managed to convince a majority and get 61 votes in his favour. The main Serbian party in Kosovo, Srpska Lista, expressed support for Mr. Haradinaj and should therefore secure 3 ministries. However, Serbia did not show any wish for withdrawing the arrest warrant it emitted against Ramush Haradinaj for war crimes. Serbia has not yet recognized Kosovo’s independence despite pressures from the European Union.
Speaking in front of the Parliament, Haradinaj stressed the need for dialogue between Prishtina and Belgrade, as he indicated he thought there was « no other alternative ». He also spoke in Serbian, addressing the Serb minorities and ensuring them that Kosovo was also their « home ».
On 11th September, Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for the EU External Action Service reminded Kosovo of the need to introduce legislative reforms concerning its economy and the Rule of Law. Kosovo has suffered an economic crisis since it became independent, with a record youth unemployment rate of 53%.
Haradinaj has thus been given a second chance as prime minister for Kosovo, since in 2005 he had to give up his position after only about a hundred days in office. Indeed, he had to resign because of the charges he faced from the International Criminal Court for ex-Yugoslavia, which eventually found him not guilty twice.
Nevertheless, the opposition criticized the new government a few days only after its establishment, pointing out it was too fragile, unstable and too dependent on Belgrade. This last claim could echo back in the popular opinion, which has repeatedly expressed its desire to completely break up the Serbian influence on Kosovo. The situation remains tense, all hopes resting on the new prime minister’s shoulders, who will have to do his best to calm things down and ease tensions.
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