OSCE calls for fair election campaign
On the first day of campaigning for the October 22 local elections in Kosovo, the OSCE Mission recalls the key standards of free and fair elections, and appeals to all contestants to engage in positive campaigning, free of threats or any form of intimidation.
“From the time the OSCE Mission managed elections in Kosovo to the last three electoral cycles, a culture of well-managed, genuinely competitive and fair elections has been established in Kosovo. This is a significant democratic achievement and should therefore be upheld through this campaign and the election process on 22 October,” Ambassador Jan Braathu, Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, said.
In this context, the OSCE also recalls the report of the European Union Election Observation Mission on the 11 June Early Kosovo Assembly Elections, which offers useful and detailed observations on the previous election process, including the campaigning period. Inspiration and guidance on compliance with the key OSCE electoral standards may also be found in the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Handbook on the Follow-up of Electoral Recommendation.
“I wish all parties, civic initiatives and candidates an engaging competition and a successful electoral process,” Ambassador Braathu added.
Thaçi calls for free and democratic elections
On the first day of campaigning for the October 22 local elections, Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi wished all political parties a successful and dignified competition.
“I am glad about the opportunity that all political parties, candidates for mayors and those for municipal assemblies once again will have the chance to prove the commitment of our society for free, fair, and democratic elections. I wish them all success and a dignified competition in their commitment for Kosovo citizens,” Thaçi posted on Facebook.
KDI: De-certified candidates should be treated equally
ON the last day, Zafir Berisha managed to enter the competition for Prizren mayor. Supreme Court ruled in his favour by repealing the Central Election Commission’s (CEC) decision, which was based on Article 29 of the Law on General Elections in Kosovo, an article which prohibits standing for political posts to all candidates who in the last three years have been convicted for criminal offences.
But this decision, once again brought into surface Kosovo’s weak legal system. This time, the Law on Elections was found to be discrepant to the Kosovo Constitution, namely to its Article 45, which guarantees the right of citizens to elect and to be elected.
However, Albert Krasniqi of the Kosovo Democratic Institute (KDI) believes that the Supreme Court’s decision was wrong. He says that nine years after its adoption, finally CEC decided to implement the Law, whereas the Supreme Court came up with a constitutional ruling.
Nevertheless, according to Krasniqi, CEC should restore all 86 de-certified candidates, rather than being selective.
On the other hand, Krasniqi says that Berisha himself should give up standing for Prizren mayor and resign his MP post, because he is accused of electric power theft and thus he is not good model for a leader.
RTK management reacts to Srpska List statement
The RTK management reacted to the statement of Srpska List, which criticised journalists of RTK2 TV for covering the protest in Vrbovc on 20th September 2017, saying that the journalists were unprofessional.
“The RTK 2 journalists always carry out their job professionally and objectively, in line with the regulations in force. We are particularly careful before and during election campaigns. This can be proved by the recent reports on coverage of the early Assembly elections in Kosovo issued by the Independent Media Commission and the European Union Office, finding the RTK 2 reporting as objective and impartial,” the press release issued by the RTK Management reads.
The event was of great importance to be covered, as RTK2 received reports that people were fired for political reasons, and our professional task was to send our TV team there.
“In regard to coverage of the protest in Vrbovc, our TV team neither in this case nor ever before had suggested to the interviewee what to say. We emphasise that the TV story about the protest, which was aired on our information programmes, is fully neutral and objective, complying with the rules of both sides. We believe that this is another form of pressure put on the media before the local election campaign in Kosovo. At the same time, we call on all political entities to stop putting pressure on the public TV, and to allow us to do our job in line with professional and ethical standards , as well as with the regulations in force that regulate our area,” the press release concluded.
Kosovo’s diplomatic failure in Interpol
Kosovo will not apply for Interpol membership in the next meeting. This decision was taken by Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, who decided to postpone the application for a next meeting of Interpol.
The reasons for withdrawal were explained on Wednesday evening at KTV Interactive show by Haradinaj’s First Deputy Prime Minister, Behgjet Pacolli. Pacolli said that the decision was taken because the sufficient number of votes was not secured. He added that preparations need to be made for the meeting in Abu Dhabi, in order not to be disappointed.
Pacolli said that within a few work days, he obtained 25 verbal notes confirming support in the next Interpol summit, but it is far from the sufficient number of votes necessary for accession. He explained that 115 votes in favour are needed.