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OSCE Broadcast Report 05 November

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• Supreme Court approves VV’s request for counting 1806 packages with diaspora ballots (KTV)
• Meeting of the resigned Government deemed unnecessary (KTV)
• Haradinaj doesn’t explain criteria based on which 70,000 euro was allocated to four persons summoned by Specialist Chambers(KTV)
• Ramadani: ‘Imperial’ Russia returns a threat to Balkans (RTKLive)
• RTK calls for regulation of the payment at a media summit (RTK)
• The role of the media in progressive Serbia: Informing citizens or dismantling the Kosovo myth (Kossev)
• Limaj calls for total recount of votes (Summary of KTV Rubicon show)

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  • Supreme Court approves VV’s request for counting 1806 packages with diaspora ballots (KTV)
  • Meeting of the resigned Government deemed unnecessary (KTV)
  • Haradinaj doesn’t explain criteria based on which 70,000 euro was allocated to four persons summoned by Specialist Chambers(KTV)
  • Ramadani: ‘Imperial’ Russia returns a threat to Balkans (RTKLive)
  • RTK calls for regulation of the payment at a media summit  (RTK)
  • The role of the media in progressive Serbia: Informing citizens or dismantling the Kosovo myth (Kossev)
  • Limaj calls for total recount of votes (Summary of KTV Rubicon show)

 

News

Supreme Court approves VV’s request for counting 1806 packages with diaspora ballots

(KTV)

The Supreme Court of Kosovo has approved the appeal of Vetëvendosje Movement for counting 1806 packages arrived from diaspora.

The decision, which KTV got hold of, states that Vetëvendosje’s appeal has been approved, and CEC is obliged to verify and count the 1806 packages.

A few days ago, Vetëvendosje Movement again appealed to the Supreme Court regarding the ballot packages from compatriots who, according to this party, sent their ballots in time.

In the meantime, CEC spokesperson Valmir Elezi said that Count and Results Centre would start counting them tonight [Tuesday] at 21:00hrs.

“In order to execute the Supreme Court’s judgment, we will begin the process of verification of alleged packages with ballots. After this process, tonight at the CRC (Tuesday, November 5, 21:00hrs) we will start counting the approved ballots,” the CEC spokesperson Valmir Elezi said.

Later in the evening, KTV reported that on Tuesday CEC verified 1806 alleged packages with ballots.

CEC spokesperson Valmir Elezi said that after the verification, there are 2449 individualised ballots, 2039 of them have been approved, and 410 have been rejected.

“As we have explained in the last days, tomorrow (Wednesday) we will communicate with other institutions – ECAP and Supreme Court – to get their confirmation that they do not have any case under consideration, so that we can proceed with announcing the final results,” Elezi said.

Meeting of the resigned Government deemed unnecessary

(KTV)

About a month after the elections, the resigned Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has convened his cabinet to adapt several decisions related to the Kosovo budget.

Experts of economy and government performance consider the meeting of ministers as unreasonable, at the time when certification of October 6th election results is expected.

Naim Gashi, an economist, says the resigned Government should only be the guardian of functioning of the state, rather than making decisions that could affect the future.

Such a meeting, for Donika Emini of CiviKos, would be reasonable only in case of an emergency.

Unlike Gashi and Emini, Berat Thaçi, policy analyst at GAP Institute, says that some move of the budget may be necessary.

Nevertheless, according to Thaçi, the Haradinaj Government should not use this situation.

At its 113th meeting, the Haradinaj Government approved the decision on savings and allocations among budget organizations for 2019.

Haradinaj doesn’t explain criteria based on which 70,000 euro was allocated to four persons summoned by Specialist Chambers

(KTV)

Allocation of funds for pensioners, veterans, and other categories, gathered the Government Cabinet three months after the resignation of Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj.

Haradinaj did not provide details how 70,000 euro from the state budget was allocated to four former KLA officers, summoned by the Specialist Chambers.

KTV reported last week that those funds were allocated with two decisions of the Government on 5th February and 19th March, which state “financial support to the potentially accused persons in judicial proceedings at the Specialist Chambers.”

The Government allocated 9,187 euro to Sami Lushtaku, and 6,991 euro to Mahir Hasani.

The Government had provided financial support also to Sylejman Selimi with 13,822 euro.

The amount of 40,000 euro was allocated to Lahi Brahimaj, uncle of the incumbent Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj.

Meanwhile, Haradinaj said he has no knowledge about possible arrests by the Specialist Chambers.

In 2015, Kosovo passed Law on Financial Support to Accused Individuals, but the name of the Law and its Article 1 includes also the word ‘potentially’.

However, articles 2 and 3 that refer to the scope and legal defence specify that only the accused benefit financial assistance from this law, not suspects or witnesses.

Regarding the next government, Haradinaj said that revoking the tariff and replacing it with reciprocity would be a capital political mistake.

Ramadani: ‘Imperial’ Russia returns a threat to Balkans

(RTKLive)

Kosovo’s Acting Deputy Minister of Defence Burim Ramadani wrote on his Facebook account that “Imperial Russia is returning as a threat to Balkans,” English edition of RTKLive reported.

“Russian Federation’s lately revived imperial ambitions to enlarge its domination, represent a direct threat to regional security and stability for Balkans, and consequently for Europe.

Its imperial approach has been proved in three occasions/different regions, so far: Georgia, Ukraine, the Middle East.

It appears that now is the turn of Balkans on its attempts to spread its impact. The eventual establishment of ‘rocket base’ in Presevo Valley is proof of this.

Russia’s imperial ambitions, terrorism, and organized transnational crime and corruption are the three most powerful threats for Balkans regional security.

Add to this the fact that Balkan states are unconsolidated and with fragile democracy, there is no recognition among states, permanent high tension between states, high socio-economic threats, high level of unemployment and poverty, as well as dissatisfaction of populations with the government which is incomparably higher than in European countries.”

Be that as it may, these threats can be confronted by strengthening the West’s active role in the Balkans (U.S., NATO, EU), accelerating Balkan countries’ NATO membership, and punishing transnational organized crime and corruption.”

A “Marshall Economic Plan” for the Western Balkans is extremely needed, as well,” Ramadani wrote.

RTK calls for regulation of the payment at a media summit

(RTK)

Radio and Television of Kosovo (RTK) has requested regulation of its payment. RTK Director General Ngadhnjim Kastrati is attending a summit in Zagreb, Croatia, on the future of public and print media tackling on the topics of financing, independence and new models. Addressing dozens of media outlets and hundreds of participants, Kastrati requested that RTK payment be regulated through electricity bills, like in most countries in the world.

“We heard the problems and challenges encountered by all public media in the region and beyond that are the same, unsustainable funding and efforts of politics to influence public service broadcasters. The need for existence of public service broadcasters for a democratic society was also highlighted. Prepayment through energy bills was found to be the best way of financing, a practice that is being implemented elsewhere,” Kastrati stated.

The summit is jointly organized by South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

The role of the media in progressive Serbia: Informing citizens or dismantling the Kosovo myth

(Kossev)

The Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic is definitely right in saying that his plan to resolve Kosovo’s status does not have citizens’ support. Theatrically speaking, he seems to be admonishing and speaking with a cocktail of emotions made up of anger, sadness and contempt. The fact that citizens do not know what Vucic’s plan is not a consequence of their disinterest, but the intended effect of his strategic way of communicating with them, Nikola Jovic writes for Kossev.

This complex and carefully designed strategic communication has several goals. Firstly, President Vucic is trying to maintain his position, which is based on ratings at home and support from abroad. As it is more difficult to manipulate international authorities, a manipulative communication strategy is being used on the citizens of the Republic of Serbia.

President Vucic knows that negotiating and potentially signing an agreement that resolves Kosovo’s status is not popular, thus resulting in a deafening silence about his plan for Kosovo, not informing the public and avoiding to answer reporter’s questions.

The results of such communication are indicated by data from a survey conducted by the Sprint Insight agency, which shows that 60% of respondents do not know what Vucic’s plan is for resolving Kosovo’s status. President Vucic is holding his cards close because he believes that informing the public about the plan automatically means that his ratings will decline. The data from this research confirm that this assumption is correct.

Secondly, the strategic communication of the President of Serbia is aimed at dismantling the dominant transgenerational emotional attitude of citizens towards Kosovo. The citizens of Serbia, for the most part, perceive Kosovo as the cradle of Serbian identity and spirituality – the foundation of Serbian statehood. The question then arises as to how to communicate the potential arrangements leading to Kosovo’s independence, where we come to strategic communication at two narrative levels.

On the one hand, the President of Serbia is calling for an agreement and the necessity of delimitation, that is, a solution to Kosovo’s status, using a rather realistic narrative: „I will not lie and say that Kosovo is part of Serbia“. In this way, he is preparing a part of (his) electorate for this unpopular decision. Such communication also suits the international authorities to whom the President is telling what they want to hear: openly and directly communicating national defeat and preparing the public for passive acceptance or anesthetizing reaction.

On the other hand, the emotional attitude towards Kosovo is constantly reinforced in the media controlled by Vucic’s propaganda machinery. This is not a positive, emotional discourse presented in the narrative – Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. On the contrary, it is a narrative that is riddled with hatred and intolerance towards Albanians. The newly created narrative is regressive, inhumane, and fundamentally anti-Albanian.

The goal of this negative emotional discourse is to neutralize the positive emotional attitude towards Kosovo and to „cover“ it with a negative one. This marketing job is being accomplished by demonizing Albanians, and the sublimated message is presented to the citizens that it is actually in our interest to separate ourselves from the Albanians because it is impossible to peacefully coexist with them.

In the government-backed tabloid media, this narrative is promoted via news with the following headlines: “Shiptars are bullying! Shiptar torture! Shiptars arresting Serbs again! Shiptar’s abnormal dealings! Shiptars are bullying Serbs – provoking bloody conflicts! Shiptars are ‘cutting off the heads’ of the Serbs! Liar, liar, Shiptar pants on fire!”

This kind of media discourse is violence in itself, while inhumane and anti-civilizational strategic communication of this type, even with short-term „positive“ effects, has a terrifying potential for long-term consequences. Creating intolerance and hatred cannot lead to a happier society or better inter-ethnic relations in the long run.

In order to implement this strategic communication, political process engineers in Serbia – led by President Vucic – believe that control of the private and state media is necessary. From 2012 to date, the level of media freedom in Serbia has decreased dramatically, while the transformation of the media into a propaganda machine that does dirty marketing work for the government is intensifying. Sprint Insight research data shows that this machinery is creating terrifying social engineering when it comes to citizens’ outlooks.

On the one hand, the machinery manages to keep the rating of the ruling party stable, despite President Vucic’s unpopular realistic stance on the necessity of finding a solution to Kosovo’s final status. On the other hand, it fails to break through the emotional wall that protects citizens’ beliefs that Kosovo’s independence should never be recognized. Survey results show that respondents are against any solution which includes independence and 75% of respondents would understand the recognition of Kosovo as a betrayal.

Therefore, the way President Vucic approached the Kosovo issue has led to the captivity of not only our media, but also of the state, society and institutions.

Is the price of Vucic’s Kosovo politics too high? It obviously isn’t for the foreigners because they continue to pat him on the back and openly support him. It is also not too high for our citizens, as Vucic’s ratings show – which have been quite stable for years.

It seems that the equilibrium of support skillfully built by Aleksandar Vucic can only be disturbed by the recognition of Kosovo’s independence. Democracy in Serbia has already capitulated to President Vucic, it remains to be seen whether the Kosovo negotiating team will do the same. Or else, the President will leave two lost myths – the Kosovan and the democratic – as his legacy.

Limaj calls for total recount of votes

(Summary of KTV Rubicon show)

Leader of the Social Democratic Initiative – Nisma, Fatmir Limaj, reiterated the stance that his party, in coalition with AKR and PD, has passed the 5% threshold in the October 6th elections.

Although according to public data, this party is below the threshold, Limaj said that according to the current results, the Nisma-AKR-PD is part of the Assembly.

“Nisma and the coalition is a parliamentary party,” he said, adding that the electoral process had started well on October 6th, but “problems arouse in the second half of the elections.”

“Let me talk about the process as a whole. The Election Day was an extremely good day, when the process depended on citizens, who responded to their obligation. There was a massive turnout; it was the most massive turnout ever, with some sporadic incidents or technical problems. October 6th was one of the best days. For as much as it was dependent on citizens, the turnout, the voting, everything went well. Problems arose in the second half of elections. The problem we encountered was after the boxes were closed when the results started coming,” he told KTV’s Rubicon show.

According to Limaj, the biggest problem was the mistake in forms of polling stations.

Complaining about problems with the counting process and errors in ballot forms, Social Democratic Initiative leader Fatmir Limaj said the October 6TH elections were the worst ones administered so far in Kosovo.

According to him, anyone who was involved on errors on the forms should have been held accountable and dismissed.

Fatmir Limaj, candidate for prime minister from Nisma-AKR-PD coalition, insists that a total recount is needed for the October 6th elections, which have so far left this coalition under election threshold.

According to him, there is a major error in the count and “this has been confirmed by the partial recount.”

He said they will go to the end of this process, also including the Constitutional Court in this case. He added that they push this process until its end, because so far “ECAP has rejected us”.

Limaj said that CEC favoured Serb ethnicity with the ballots brought from Serbia, whilst it has discriminated against the Albanian ethnicity.

“CEC has illegally favoured the so-called ballots from Serbia. This is discrimination and violation of citizens’ rights. One must stand against this,” he said.

With regard to the Supreme Court decision, Limaj said that by this decision, the Supreme Court has exceeded its powers, by changing the law.

“The ECAP’s decision on the Diaspora ballots is in line with the law, whereas the Supreme Court has exceeded its powers. The Supreme Court’s decision indicates that the law has been changed,” he added.

Limaj stated that 3500 envelopes with ballots that arrived from Serbia, were smuggled to Kosovo.

According to him, officially there were only five ballots from Serbia.

He said that by allowing ballots from Serbia to be physically delivered, it was proven that the Kosovo law on its eligible voter citizens who live abroad, applied to all countries in the world, except Serbia.

Although the envelopes contained more than 3500 ballots, Limaj said that officially there were only five ballots from Serbia.

“I have a document from their report, which shows that individual ballots arrived from Serbia, from Kosovo citizens who, like everywhere in the world, had the opportunity to vote by mail. Five ballots arrived from Serbia. Everyone who wanted to vote, had this opportunity,” he said.

Limaj said that if Vetëvendosje would have the same problem like Nisma with the ballots from Serbia, it would burn down CEC.

Limaj said that those who are presently keeping silent, are doing so in order to get their seats in the Assembly.

“Had this happened to Vetëvendosje, they would have burn down CEC by now. They are keeping silent, it is not difficult to know. Vetëvendosje kept silent about the ballots of Serbs, and it continues keeping silent,” he highlighted.

Limaj does not expect that new Kosovo institutions will be formed before 15th December.

Although the ballot counting process is approaching the end, he said that complaints will make everything to be postponed, emphasising that a total ballot recount is necessary

Regarding negotiations between VV and LDK on forming government, Limaj said that they should restrain from arrogance.

“They should be cautious from arrogance. The party which has won the elections should bear in mind that it has only 25 per cent of the will of citizens, and that there are 75 per cent more. You are the first party, but you do not enjoy trust of all Kosovo citizens. There are also other parliamentary groups, and you should sit and discuss with other parties as well, in this case with LDK,” Limaj concluded.

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