Albanian Language Media:
- Haziri: Whoever has a vote more will lead the government (media)
- CEC decides on vote recount in additional 530 polling stations (Telegrafi)
- Prosecution receives Dehari’s results from Switzerland (Express)
- Kurti meets in London British MPs (media)
- Specialist Chambers invite former KLA superior from Llapi Operative zone (Express)
- Kosovo’s outgoing Justice Minister says he got death threats last December (Lajmi)
- Vetevendosje movement files a complaint at ECAP (media)
Serbian Language Media:
- Vucic met Lajcak in Belgrade today (B92)
- Ashton: We did not ask Belgrade and Pristina to cross red lines (RTS, Tanjug)
- Kosovo prosecution continues investigation of alleged poisoning (RTS)
- Dacic: The hypocritical response of the British Embassy (Tanjug, RTS)
- Kurti for NIN: “ZSO – dead letter on paper; Serbs to turn to more moderate Serb parties” (Kontakt plus radio, Danas, N1)
- Zeri: New government without the Serbian List impossible (RTS)
- Hahn warns EU member states (Kosovo online, B92)
- Exhibition in Mitrovica North cancelled, painter prohibited to enter Kosovo with the paintings (Kosovo online)
- Vasilije Bojic arrested in Mitrovica North on Wednesday released
- Montenegrin language school in Pristina banned (Gracanicaonline.info)
- EU Enlargement: The Balkans Brexit Fallout (Balkan Insight)
- What’s next for Pristina? (CEPA)
- Mushkolaj: The bitter taste of defeat (Express)
Humanitarian and Development:
- Countess of Wessex: Let’s fight together stigma that harms survivors of conflict-related sexual violence (media)
- Childhood interrupted: a story from Plemetin (Prishtina Insight)
Albanian Language Media
Haziri: Whoever has a vote more will lead the government (media)
Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) deputy leader, Lutfi Haziri, said today that the party that has one vote more than the second-biggest party from the October 6 parliamentary elections, will have the right to the post of Prime Minister. Haziri took to Facebook to write: “The opposition won in Kosovo, not the individual or a political group. The citizens of Kosovo voted for change and they trusted the LDK and LVV. The small victors are the LDK and LVV. We are waiting for the final election results because not all votes have been counted yet. Whichever party is the winner, they will need to act responsibly and humbly toward the results, because people have voted for change. They did not vote for an individual or for a political party … The LDK has set the standard, whoever has a vote more, will lead the government!”
CEC decides on vote recount in additional 530 polling stations (Telegrafi)
The news website reports that Kosovo’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has decided on a vote recount in an additional 530 polling stations. Following a recommendation from the Counting and Results Centre (CRC), CEC President Valdete Daka said the recount should be done immediately. CRC Coordinator Burim Ahmetaj said there were mainly technical errors in these stations and that therefore a vote recount is needed.
Prosecution receives Dehari’s results from Switzerland (Express)
Chief Prosecutor of the Basic Prosecution in Prizren Admir Shala said today that the final report of the expertise on Astrit Dehari’s case has arrived.
“We have received today the final report of the expertise on Astrit Dehari’s case from the Lausanne Institute, Switzerland. We do not know what is inside, it was submitted today to the prosecution of the state. We will submit this to the prosecutor of the case, who will open it and submit it for translation,” Shala said.
Kurti meets in London British MPs (media)
A delegation from Vetevendosje headed by leader Albin Kurti is on a two-day visit to United Kingdom and attended a dinner at the British Parliament hosted by the all-party parliamentary group on Kosovo, MPs John Grogan and Martin Vickers.
“In a warm and friendly atmosphere we exchanged thoughts and ideas about the socio-economic, political and regional situation as well as the priorities of a Kurti-led government,” Vetevendosje said in a statement.
Specialist Chambers invite former KLA superior from Llapi Operative zone (Express)
The Specialist Chambers has invited today another former member of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
Hysni Gucati, head of the War Veterans Organisation took to Facebook to write that Sali Mustafa was one of the seniors at Llapi Operative Zone. “I just received the news that the Specialist Chambers has sent an invitation as a suspect, to the veteran Sali Mustafa – Cali, who was superior of the Llapi Operative Zone during the time of the KLA war. He as all the others, will come out unblemished,” Gucati wrote.
Kosovo’s outgoing Justice Minister says he got death threats last December (Lajmi)
Kosovo’s outgoing Minister of Justice, Abelard Tahiri, said on Wednesday that he received death threats last December, the news website reports. In an interview to TV Dukagjini, Tahiri said he was notified by the Kosovo Intelligence Agency (AKI) about a possible attack against him by persons outside Kosovo but who were known to the agency. “It was the second week of December when the AKI contacted me and warned me about a possible attack by persons that are not Kosovo nationals, who were familiar known to the AKI and were staying in the Republic of Kosovo,” he said. “The AKI had this information, not the prosecution … It was a serious threat for three months and I was escorted by police throughout that period of time”. Tahiri said the threat had nothing to do with the Specialist Chambers or with the Astrit Dehari case.
Vetevendosje movement files a complaint at ECAP (media)
Vetevendosje Movement has filed a complaint with the Election Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) with regard to the failure to count the four thousand and 639 postal deliveries with ballots received from Diaspora.
“Today the Vetevendosje Movement filed a complaint with the Election Complaints and Appeals Panel with regards to the failure of the Results Counting Center to count 4639 postal deliveries with ballots arriving from diaspora.
Last night, 13491 ballots of the voters from diaspora were counted. We expect that ECAP will come up with the decision within the legal deadlines and order CEC, service for voting from outside of the country, to proceed without delay counting of all ballots arriving from our diaspora.
Procedural justifications which artificially override the free will of the electorate from Diaspora, undermine democracy. Therefore, those ballots have to be counted,” Vetevendosje Movement wrote.
Serbian Language Media
Vucic met Lajcak in Belgrade today (B92)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic received in Belgrade today Slovakian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs as well as Chairman of the OSCE Miroslav Lajcak, Serbian media reported.
During the meeting, President Vucic expressed serious concern over events in the north of Kosovo and Metohija and warned that Pristina by unilateral and provocative acts causes tensions and deterioration of the security situation.
He pointed out in particular manipulations over alleged poisoning of the members of the Kosovo Central Election Commission during counting the votes from central Serbia, all of them Albanians exclusively, asking what poison acts on the basis of an ethnic background. He once again called for a comprehensive investigation into this case, Vucic’s press service announced.
President Vucic also expressed gratitude to Slovakia for maintaining principled stance not to recognize Kosovo.
Given Slovakia’s Chairmanship of the OSCE Vucic emphasized it is very important that this organization preserves status-neutral approach, in particular in the work of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo. Head of the Slovakian diplomacy Lajcak said the Western Balkans is in the focus of the Slovakian Chairmanship of the OSCE and it follows the situation in Kosovo with great attention, Tanjug news agency reported.
Ashton: We did not ask Belgrade and Pristina to cross red lines (RTS, Tanjug)
Former EU High Representative Catherine Ashton under whose mediation the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue has started in 2012 said at the Belgrade Security Forum that neither side was requested to cross their red lines, RTS reports. She added the aim was to bring representatives of both sides in the same room, at the same table.
Former French Ambassador to Serbia, Frederic Mondoloni said that the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina should continue as soon as possible, while the US State Department Representative David Kostelancik noted normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina is a strategic priority for the US.
Ashton further noted that at no moment Belgrade and Pristina were asked to cross their red lines, Serbia was not requested to recognize Kosovo and Kosovo was not requested to deny itself as a state.
Speaking about the first Brussels agreement and the fact that 6 years have passed since then and it has not been implemented yet, Ashton noted the significance of the implementation of the agreements because they need to improve the lives of ordinary people.
“That was the first agreement, and the idea was certainly not to be the last one,” Ashton said. She underlined people should be told what their future would be like, in particular the young ones, to tell them this region would be a place where they would wish to live, and it would be incorporated into a wider, more optimistic image.
Mondoloni noted that the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue needs to continue as soon as possible, adding his state is ready to help the process and organize the meeting in Paris, if it would be of help, after the government in Pristina is established.
“We want to organize the meeting, together with Germany, if that could speed up the process,” he said.
Director of the US State Department Office for South and Central Europe, David Kostelancik said recognition of Kosovo by Belgrade stands on the European path of Serbia, adding the US is aware it is not an easy process, but that Belgrade has US support.
According to Tanjug news agency he also said the US does not take a stance on the issue of delineation or division of Kosovo, this is the issue that Belgrade and Pristina should resolve.
Kosovo prosecution continues investigation of alleged poisoning (RTS)
Serbian national broadcaster RTS reports today that although it was officially stated there were no traces of poison in the blood of the Central Election Commission members who were in touch with election envelopes from central Serbia, Kosovo prosecution announced it would continue investigation of this case abroad.
Representative of the Kosovo prosecution Artan Grantoli said the samples were already sent for examination to the laboratory outside Kosovo. He did not specify where it was, adding the public would be informed about the results.
RTS recalled that due to alleged poisoning of the Albanian members of the Central Election Commission approximately 3.500 ballots from central Serbia are not counted yet.
The Central Election Commission also stated earlier today that due to different manipulations of the political parties’ members at the polling stations it was decided to repeat the counting of votes at 530 polling stations.
Coordinator of the Counting and Results Center Burim Ahmetaj said there were cases where a candidate for MP had more votes than the total number of voters in a particular polling station, adding this was the case at 89 stations. He also said there were cases where there were more ballots than it was stated in the election results templates.
Dacic: The hypocritical response of the British Embassy (Tanjug, RTS)
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic described the response of the British Embassy in Pristina to President Aleksandar Vucic’s criticism as “utterly hypocritical.”
Dacic told Belgrade based daily Tanjug that anyone who sits with the future prime minister of the so-called Kosovo with the Albanian flag thus supports his publicly demonstrated aspiration to create a “Greater Albania.”
He said that the ambassador should not arrange party rooms, but “may refuse to sit there, as some other ambassadors have done.”
Kurti for NIN: “ZSO – dead letter on paper; Serbs to turn to more moderate Serb parties” (Kontakt plus radio, Danas, N1)
I am aware of the pressures Serbs are experiencing from Serbia’s parallel structures in Kosovo, one of which is the Serbian List, but the Serb community in Kosovo should gain strength and rebuild behind the more moderate Serb parties and politicians in Kosovo, Self-determination leader Albin Kurti said in an interview with Belgrade based weekly NIN.
When talking about “more moderate Serb parties”, Kurti explained to weekly NIN that he thought about parties such as Serbian Liberal Party (SLS) Slobodan Petrovic or Progressive Democratic Party (PDS) Nenad Rasic, quotes Kontakt plus radio. According to him, by voting for them Serbs in Kosovo would vote for their future, for integration, development and full civil rights.
For Kurti, the Community of Serbian municipalities (ZSO) is a “dead letter on paper”. He explained this by saying that on December 23, 2015, the Constitutional Court of Kosovo declared that the ZSO was contrary to the Constitution of Kosovo with as many as 23 articles. He added that no Serb from Kosovo protested, only Belgrade.
“Reciprocity means to make Belgrade satisfied that the Serbs in Kosovo have their National Council, as Albanians in the ‘Presevo Valley’. We do not know what Serbs in northern Kosovo actually think and want, because the parallel structures, that are Milosevic’s legacy, do not allow them to think and us to hear them,” Kurti stated.
The idea of a ZSO cannot be realized because it is unconstitutional, Kurti said, adding that Serbs from Kosovo all its civil and national rights can and should be exercising as equal citizens through the institutions of “our republic”, Kontakt plus radio quoted.
“I am ready and willing to hear citizens’ rights demands, but not Belgrade’s appetite for territories,” explained the leader of the Self-determination, which won the most votes in Kosovo’s past parliamentary elections.
He added that his government would abolish the tariffs and establish full reciprocity with Serbia.
“Because this is a normal way of bilateral relations, because if Kosovo’s goods cannot enter Serbia due to the form which has the Republic of Kosovo written in it, then the Serbian goods will not be able to enter Kosovo,” Kurti said.
Noting that Serbia’s diplomatic action, which led to Kosovo’s withdrawal of recognition, reduced the number of United Nations (UN) members who would vote in favour of Kosovo’s membership in the organization, Kurti said that “such behaviour of Serbia” was the reason for introducing the tariff on the goods.
“We need to make it clear to the Serbian state leadership that such behaviour cannot lead to the start of new negotiations, much less an agreement or truce,” Kurti said.
He assessed that Serbia must take responsibility and added that he would also seek the help of international partners.
“We need an official statement by Serbia that it will not work against Kosovo’s membership in international communities,” Kurti told NIN.
Zeri: New government without the Serbian List impossible (RTS)
Serbian national broadcaster RTS quotes today Pristina based daily Zeri that a new government in Pristina cannot be formed without the Serbian List. According to Zeri, since the Serbian List has won the most votes in the snap parliamentary elections, Albin Kurti will have to include that party in his cabinet.
Albin Kurti earlier said that Serbian List representatives would not be part of his government, and in the meantime, he had already talked with Nenad Rasic of the PDS party.
Zeri writes that if Kurti wants to introduce Serbs from another party into the government, according to the Kosovo constitution, he would need to get the approval of the party that represents this community in parliament, which is, in this case, the Serbian List, quoted RTS.
“Even political experts say avoiding the Serbian List in government is impossible and Kurti will be obliged to include the Serbian List in the new government,” Zeri reported.
The daily recalled that point 3, Article 96 of the Kosovo Constitution clearly specifies the distribution of ministries to minority communities.
“In case the government has 12 ministries there will be at least one minister from the Serb community and one minister from any other non-majority community in Kosovo. If there are more than 12 ministers in the government, in that case it will have a third minister, who will represent one of the non-majority communities in Kosovo,” Zeri quoted the Constitution.
Hahn warns EU member states (Kosovo online, B92)
Johannes Hahn warned EU member states that negative decision on the date of accession negotiations for North Macedonia and Albania affects opportunities in the region, B92 reports referring to Pristina-based Gazeta Blic.
European Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations Hahb believes that this would most affect the relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
“If all the efforts North Macedonia made aren’t awarded, there won’t be an incentive for Serbia and Kosovo to start an essential dialogue about common life in the future, given that their only perspective is EU path”, Hahn stated after the meeting with the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev in Vienna.
Zoran Zaev, North Macedonia’s Prime Minister, warned the EU leaders that his government would be ‘dead’ if they did not set a date for the beginning of the accession talks with Skopje, meaning that it would be a negative message when it comes to the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.
Although most European countries agreed that North Macedonia and Albania would open accession negotiations with the EU, this did not happen, as France advocated reforming the enlargement process and revising the complete process methodology. It will also be on the agenda of the European Leaders Summit on Thursday or Friday in Brussels, as Kosovo online reports.
Exhibition in Mitrovica North cancelled, painter prohibited to enter Kosovo with the paintings (Kosovo online)
Art exhibition of an academic painter Suzana Stojadinovic planned to take place last night at the Faculty of Arts in Mitrovica North has been cancelled, because the artist was not allowed to bring her paintings to Kosovo at the Jarinje crossing point, Kosovo-online portal reports.
In a statement to the portal Stojadinovic said she was appalled by what she has experienced at the Jarinje crossing point.
“The official there told me to pick up my belongings and get off the bus, that my works could not cross the border because they had not been officially notified by their government and that they could not let me in” Stojadinovic said.
She added that she has Mexican citizenship in addition to Serbian, but since Mexico did not recognize Kosovo it was not helpful.
The Faculty of Arts in Mitrovica North has confirmed the information about the cancellation of the announced painting exhibition on its Facebook profile.
Meanwhile, Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric issued a public reaction regarding the case, calling on the cultural public of Serbia and Europe to raise their voice.
“This is Pristina’s fascist madness. I urge the cultural public of Serbia and Europe to raise their voices”, Đuric according to Kosovo-online.
Vasilije Bojic arrested in Mitrovica North on Wednesday released
Vasilije Bojic, son of North Regional Police Operations Chief Zeljko Bojic, arrested by Kosovo police on Wednesday morning has been released after giving a statement, BETA news agency reports.
The case against him goes in regular procedure. According to Pristina-based media he was arrested in a car-wash facility that Bojic owns in Rudare village, in the north of Kosovo on Pristina-Leposavic highway and he was found in possession of a weapon.
As Radio Free Europe reported Kosovo special police unit ROSU also searched the flat of Zeljko Bojic in the centre of Mitrovica North however he was not found there.
Montenegrin language school in Pristina banned (Gracanicaonline.info)
The portal Gracanica Online reports that, quoting the Association of Montenegrins statement, the Office of the Commissioner for Languages at the Office of the Prime Minister of Kosovo, did not allow the establishment of a “School of Montenegrin Language and Culture in Pristina”, explaining that the project did not meet expectations, therefore did not receive sufficient points to qualify as a possible project for financing.
-Such an answer does not stand, because the project meets the highest European criteria, standards and regulations, and the Montenegrin community considers the final decision of the Complaints Commission as discriminatory and offensive. Such a decision confirms our earlier assertions that Montenegrins are seriously threatened by certain Kosovo institutions and individuals, and that the process of systematic assimilation continues without mercy. The Kosovo Montenegrin Association will continue to do its utmost to find mechanisms to protect and improve our overall position within the Kosovo institutions – concludes the statement.
EU Enlargement: The Balkans Brexit Fallout (Balkan Insight)
Some may wish the EU would simply honour its earlier commitment to integrate the Balkans region, but the time for wishful thinking has long passed writes Timothy Less from Cambridge University.
Today, European leaders will almost certainly again reject the request by Albania and North Macedonia to open negotiations on EU membership. In doing so, they will confirm what has been clear for a long time — that the process of enlargement is over, and that the Balkans are not going to join the EU.
In truth, key states in the EU, most notably France, never really wanted the EU to enlarge to the east, which confers disproportionate benefits to Germany, thereby upsetting the balance of power between Paris and Berlin while weakening the cohesion of the EU as a whole.
From France’s point of view, that undermines the whole point of European integration, namely, to prevent war with Germany and provide a platform for amplifying French power.
What’s next for Pristina? (CEPA)
After elections and the appointment of a new Envoy from Washington, Pristina is positioned at a crucial crossroads. Janusz Bugajski considers what’s next.
Mushkolaj: The bitter taste of defeat (Express)
Political commentator and reporter, Imer Mushkolaj, writes in an opinion piece that “losing the elections leaves one with a bitter taste. Parties from the PAN [PDK-AAK-NISMA] coalition might have experienced it badly, but the people had an even worse experience with their governance. An arrogant and irresponsible governance”.
Mushkolaj argues that countless delays by the Central Election Commission (CEC) in announcing the final results are giving room to all sorts of speculation. “It is weird how the majority of votes can be counted and processed within a short period of time, but a small number of votes is taking so much time. The people are suspecting that there is some deal involved that would make it possible for a coalition of smaller parties led by the Social-Democratic Initiative [NISMA] to cross the threshold,” Mushkolaj writes. “It is understandable – losing has a bitter taste. But losing becomes even more bitter when you fail to cross the threshold by some hundred votes. This however should not delay or keep hostage the process of forming the new institutions.
The people’s verdict was clear. They voted in favor of the opposition parties, trusting them to form the government. Any other calculation, by anyone, would create an unpleasant situation. No one can snatch someone else’s victory away”. He further writes that the people punished the previous government and its mindset “and showed that they will no longer allow their money to be used in lunches and dinners, traveling abroad and per diems”. “The message from the people was clear and it must be respected … Delays in announcing the election results are irritating. Even more irritating is the approach of the coalition of the smaller parties that want to cross the threshold by all means.”
Humanitarian and Development
Countess of Wessex: Let’s fight together stigma that harms survivors of conflict-related sexual violence (media)
Citing a release issued by the British Embassy in Pristina, several news websites report that “this morning HRH The Countess of Wessex met the President of the Republic of Kosovo, HE Hashim Thaci, at the start of her visit to Kosovo. HRH The Countess of Wessex and the President discussed the need to work together to challenge the stigma that still harms survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV), and for adequate financial compensation and specialised support.”
Childhood interrupted: a story from Plemetin (Prishtina Insight)
As we mark International Children’s Day, many of Kosovo’s Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian youth continue to live in miserable conditions, plagued by food, education and healthcare shortages with no social or institutional care in sight.
The five children of the Mekolli family from Plemetin village in Obiliq will not join the June 1 celebrations for International Children’s Day in the center of Prishtina. There will be no celebration for them.