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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, January 20

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• Thaci: Kurti should either accept or refuse nomination (media)
• Mustafa calls on LVV to show readiness for coalition agreement (Zeri)
• Osmani: No path is more righteous than people’s voice for change (media)
• Palokaj: Government to be formed for Kosovo’s needs (Koha)
• Der Standard: Kosovo towards elections if government not formed by February 24
• Engel: Serbia’s integration road closed until it recognises Kosovo (media)
• Konjufca calls meeting of Assembly presidency (media)
• Vetevendosje denies reports about Konjufca’s possible resignation (Express)

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  • Thaci: Kurti should either accept or refuse nomination (media)
  • Mustafa calls on LVV to show readiness for coalition agreement (Zeri)
  • Osmani: No path is more righteous than people’s voice for change (media)
  • Palokaj: Government to be formed for Kosovo’s needs (Koha)
  • Der Standard: Kosovo towards elections if government not formed by February 24
  • Engel: Serbia’s integration road closed until it recognises Kosovo (media)
  • Konjufca calls meeting of Assembly presidency (media)
  • Vetevendosje denies reports about Konjufca’s possible resignation (Express)

Thaci: Kurti should either accept or refuse nomination (media)

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said on Sunday that the leader of the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) Albin Kurti should either take over the mandate for forming the new government or reject it.

“The time is passing, therefore as President of the country, seeing the engagements of the leader of the winning political party in the 6 October elections, who was also the candidate for the Prime Minister during the campaign, and who also nominated more than half of the government… I signed that day the nomination for Mr. Kurti as candidate for the future Prime Minister of the government of the Republic of Kosovo. The nomination, signed, is still on my working table here, therefore I hope that not much time will pass, and that Mr. Kurti will reflect in the sense of accepting the nomination which is also the will of his party and his electorate. In other circumstances, I will have to announce a rejection,” Thaci said after meeting former OSCE Ambassador in Kosovo William Walker.

He said that it belongs to the will of the political spectrum to close the election process as soon as possible, by implementing the will of the voters. Thaci added that he will respect the constitution and laws of Kosovo in each of his actions. He added that it remains to the leader of the winning political party to make the next step, as he promised to also take over responsibility of the nominee in the judicial sense in the following days.

Experts consider that Thaci does not have the constitutional or legal support to set deadlines for the nominee without receiving proposal from the Vetevendosje Movement.

Koha Ditore reports on its front page that President Thaci has signed the name of Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) leader Albin Kurti as the Prime Minister nominee, even though the LVV has not sent an official proposal to the President. The paper quotes Enver Hasani, former President of the Constitutional Court, as saying that Thaci’s approach represents what he called “institutional hooliganism”. “The behaviour of the President of the Republic represents a sophisticated way of institutional hooliganism that tries to put pressure on political parties with the aim of dictating a certain political solution. This is unacceptable in the constitutional aspect,” Hasani is quoted as saying.

Mustafa calls on LVV to show readiness for coalition agreement (Zeri)

Leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Isa Mustafa said his party is interested in reaching a coalition agreement with the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) and added that this is possible if the latter demonstrates readiness.

“There are some things that remain and that I as leader of the LDK was sure would be agreed upon in the first or the second meeting and under no circumstances did I think it would take this long but I believe that this can be resolved with the readiness of the leading party,” Mustafa said.

He added that LVV should seriously consider the latest offer from LDK on division of posts saying it is balanced and ensures both parties are duly represented in all leading structures. Mustafa also said the LDK offer does not damage any of the parties but rather increases mutual trust and understanding.

“If this is not achieved, it would be uncertain how this coalition would function even if it were to happen.”

Osmani: No path is more righteous than people’s voice for change (media)

Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) deputy leader Vjosa Osmani said on Sunday that the best way forward is to listen to the people’s voice for change. Osmani made these remarks during a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of this party in the town of Vushtrri.

“Today in Vushtrri, on the 30th anniversary of this branch of the LDK, I had the pleasure to meet and discuss with hundreds of activists who once again confirmed that no path is more righteous than to listen to the voice of the people calling for change,” Osmani wrote in a Facebook post.

Palokaj: Government to be formed for Kosovo’s needs (Koha)

The paper’s Brussels-based correspondent Augustin Palokaj argues in an opinion piece that the two parties that came out first in the parliamentary elections in Kosovo received support only because they were expected to bring about change. “If they fail to form the new government, they will leave the impression that they themselves are not ready for change. ‘Internationals’ are really insisting that the new government must be formed as soon as possible. But this primarily needs to be done for Kosovo’s own needs. Kosovo doesn’t have the luxury of Belgium or the Netherlands for the process of forming the new government to last for dozens of months,” Palokaj writes.

Der Standard: Kosovo towards elections if government not formed by February 24

The Austrian newspaper Der Standard reports that it is unclear if the new Kosovo government will form as Albin Kurti has 15 days to decide. The paper reports that President Hashim Thaci sent a message to the leader of the Vetevendosje Movement on Saturday to form the new government.

Der Standard further notes that the legal deadline for forming the government is in 15 days and that if this does not happen, then new elections will take place.

“However, this also happens if the government is not formed 60 days after the parliament is constituted. This period ends on 24 February.”

The paper further reports that the Vetevendosje Movement and the Democratic League of Kosovo disagree only about the post of the President of Kosovo and despite the three-month negotiations, agreement could not be reached.

Engel: Serbia’s integration road closed until it recognises Kosovo (media)

The U.S. congressman Eliot Engel, who is also chair of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, wrote a letter to James Foggo, commander of United States Naval Forces Europe, about an interview where he spoke about the U.S. position on Serbia.

Citing a recent Department of Defense report, Engel raised concerns that Admiral James Foggo’s comments did not fully reflect U.S. policy toward Serbia.

“I share your hope that Serbia might one day join NATO, but that day is not close. And its path to the European Union also remains closed unless it recognizes and makes peace with Kosovo. I, therefore, urge that in future comments about Serbia, you more carefully balance your statements so that the United States’ concern about Belgrade’s course and its alarming relations with Moscow are accurately expressed,” wrote Engel.

Speaking to European Western Balkans, Admiral Foggo is quoted as saying that he sees cooperation between NATO and Serbia improving adding to this: “Right now, they are partners and your country is very happy with that, and that’s great. We are fine with that too.”

Konjufca calls meeting of Assembly presidency (media)

Kosovo Assembly President Glauk Konjufca has called the first meeting of the Assembly presidency to review request for appointing a delegation to represent Kosovo to the Parliamentary Assembly of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) and the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly.

The meeting is scheduled to take place today at 11:00 hrs.

Vetevendosje denies reports about Konjufca’s possible resignation (Express)

The news website reports that the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) has denied media reports according to which Glauk Konjufca will resign the post of Assembly President in order to make way to an eventual coalition government agreement between the LVV and the Democratic League of Kosovo.

LVV representatives argued that Konjufca “is the most positive person to ever hold this post” and that the outgoing government is making every attempt to prevent Vetevendosje’s institutional growth “but there is no turning back”.

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