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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, May 29

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• Constitutional Court rules in favor of President Thaci’s decree (media)
• President Thaci welcomes decision of Constitutional Court (media)
• U.S. Embassy statement on Constitutional Court’s decision (media)
• Grenell comments on Court’s decision (Express)
• Konjufca implies LVV will seek opinion from Venice Commission (media)
• Abazi: This is state capture (media)
• Haxhiu: Court’s decision is scandalous (media)
• Hoti: Time to unite for the country (media)
• Mustafa: Constitutional Court ruling, triumph for democracy (media)
• Haradinaj: Hoti government to be formed as soon as possible (media)
• Limaj calls on parties to respect Constitutional Court decision (media)
• Vetevendosje supporters hold “test-protest” in downtown Prishtina (media)
• Border changes promoted with taxpayer money (Kallxo/Prishtina Insight)
• Osmani: Those who lobbied for partition with taxpayers’ money, want to govern again
• Ambassador Heldt reacts to BIRN story about partition lobbying (Kallxo)
• Mujanovic: First time in history a govt hires lobbyists to partition own territory
• Haradinaj: I stopped Kosovo’s partition, no one can bring back this issue (media)
• President Thaci publishes images of “drug lab”, accuses “Kurti’s group” (media)
• Svecla: Psychiatric experts should comment on Thaci’s statements (media)
• Prosecution initiates investigations on surveillance room allegations (media)
• PDK: VV took data of over 1 million citizens from surveillance room (media)
• Miftaraj: The surveillance case is Thaci’s game, nothing more (Koha)
• President’s advisor: Kurti wants to be a dictator (media)
• 4 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in last 24 hours (media)
• Montenegro decides to open border with Kosovo on June 1 (media)

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  • Constitutional Court rules in favor of President Thaci’s decree (media)
  • President Thaci welcomes decision of Constitutional Court (media)
  • U.S. Embassy statement on Constitutional Court’s decision (media)
  • Grenell comments on Court’s decision (Express)
  • Konjufca implies LVV will seek opinion from Venice Commission (media)
  • Abazi: This is state capture (media)
  • Haxhiu: Court’s decision is scandalous (media)
  • Hoti: Time to unite for the country (media)
  • Mustafa: Constitutional Court ruling, triumph for democracy (media)
  • Haradinaj: Hoti government to be formed as soon as possible (media)
  • Limaj calls on parties to respect Constitutional Court decision (media)
  • Vetevendosje supporters hold “test-protest” in downtown Prishtina (media)
  • Border changes promoted with taxpayer money (Kallxo/Prishtina Insight)
  • Osmani: Those who lobbied for partition with taxpayers’ money, want to govern again
  • Ambassador Heldt reacts to BIRN story about partition lobbying (Kallxo)
  • Mujanovic: First time in history a govt hires lobbyists to partition own territory
  • Haradinaj: I stopped Kosovo’s partition, no one can bring back this issue (media)
  • President Thaci publishes images of “drug lab”, accuses “Kurti’s group” (media)
  • Svecla: Psychiatric experts should comment on Thaci’s statements (media)
  • Prosecution initiates investigations on surveillance room allegations (media)
  • PDK: VV took data of over 1 million citizens from surveillance room (media)
  • Miftaraj: The surveillance case is Thaci’s game, nothing more (Koha)
  • President’s advisor: Kurti wants to be a dictator (media)
  • 4 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in last 24 hours (media)
  • Montenegro decides to open border with Kosovo on June 1 (media)

Kosovo Media Highlights

Constitutional Court rules in favor of President Thaci’s decree (media)

All media reported on Thursday evening that the Constitutional Court announced its decision on the constitutionality of President Hashim Thaci’s decree giving LDK’s candidate Avdullah Hoti the mandate to form a new government following the no-confidence motion against the Kurti government.

Most media note in their headlines that the Court has ruled in Thaci’s favor and that his decree was in line with the Constitution.

The decision notes: “The Court has decided that the contested decree of the President is in compliance with Paragraph 2 of Article 82 of the Constitution, concluding as a result that the successful vote on a no-confidence motion against the government does not necessarily result in the dissolution of the Assembly and enables the formation of a new government”. The Court also said it will publish its full decision in the coming days.

President Thaci welcomes decision of Constitutional Court (media)

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci took to Facebook on Thursday to say that he welcomes the Constitutional Court’s decision on the constitutionality of his decree to give the mandate to Prime Minister candidate Avdullah Hoti.

“I was confident that every step that I made was in full compliance with the Constitution of Kosovo and I am glad that the Constitutional Court confirmed this,” Thaci wrote.

“Political parties and all institutions must show political maturity, respect and commitment for order, law and the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo. They must respect, accept and implement the decisions of the final authority that interprets the Constitution and the compliance of laws and other acts with the Constitution. Kosovo is on the eve of many challenges; this is why we should not waste time in forming the new government with full legitimacy by the Kosovo Assembly”.

U.S. Embassy statement on Constitutional Court’s decision (media)

The United States Embassy in Kosovo issued the following statement after the decision of the Constitutional Court: “The United States calls on all institutions and political parties to implement today’s ruling and all decisions of Kosovo’s Constitutional Court. We ask all leaders to work together for an orderly transition in the interest of peace, stability, and prosperity for all the people of #Kosovo.”

Grenell comments on Court’s decision (Express)

The US Presidential Envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue, Richard Grenell, commented on the decision of the Constitutional Court on President Thaci’s decree.

“The Constitutional Court spoke. To guarantee peace and stability and to safeguard the integrity of the judiciary in Kosovo – all must respect the decision of the Court,” Grenell told the news website.

“I look forward to continue my cooperation with the people of Kosovo and their government to bring prosperity, development and employment to the region.”

Konjufca implies LVV will seek opinion from Venice Commission (media)

Vetevendosje deputy leader Glauk Konjufca said in a debate on Klan Kosova on Thursday that Vetevendosje will seek an opinion from the Venice Commission too on the constitutionality of President Thaci’s decree giving LDK’s candidate Avdullah Hoti the mandate to form a new government. “After the Constitutional Court, a decision will be made by another institution, the Venice Commission, and we are fortunately a member state. This is where we will see our arguments,” he said.

Konjufca said Vetevendosje wants new parliamentary elections and that they could be organised in two or three months. “Elections cannot be organised any sooner. They could be held in two or three months, because the region too is going to elections. Montenegro will hold elections in September,” Konjufca said.

Speaking to Klan Kosova, Konufca said the court decision will cause a citizen revolt which he said is natural.

“From now on in Kosovo a political system is taking shape whereby if you have not won 51 percent of the votes, you haven’t won anything. Anything less than 51 percent of the votes guarantees the coalition partner the power to overthrow you at any given time and reach agreement in 25 minutes with opposition parties,” he said. 

Abazi: This is state capture (media)

Acting Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Haki Abazi commented on the ruling of the Constitutional Court with a single sentence on Facebook: “This is state capture.”

Haxhiu: Court’s decision is scandalous (media)

Kosovo acting Minister of Justice and senior Vetevendosje member, Albulena Haxhiu, said on Thursday that the Constitutional Court’s decision on President Thaci’s decree is scandalous.

“The Constitutional Court slammed the will of the people! A scandalous decision,” Haxhiu wrote in a Facebook post.

Hoti: Time to unite for the country (media)

LDK’s candidate for Prime Minister, Avdullah Hoti, took to Facebook to comment on the decision of the Constitutional Court.

“As designate for Prime Minister, I welcome the decision of the Constitutional Court. It is time to unite for the future of the country and our citizens. No one has lost. Restoring trust among us and respecting the institutional order is a common duty and obligation. Together with our strategic friends – the US and EU – we will work with commitment to achieve our aspirations for Euro-Atlantic integration,” Hoti wrote.

Mustafa: Constitutional Court ruling, triumph for democracy (media)

Leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Isa Mustafa reacted to the decision of the Constitutional Court calling it “a triumph for democracy” and added that he expects the decision will be accepted by all parties.

In a Facebook post, Mustafa said LDK has always respected the decisions of the Constitutional Court and has contributed for the institution to be independent and trustworthy.

“It is up to the future government led by LDK to carry the weight of democracy of this justice deliberated by the Constitutional Court,” he said.

Haradinaj: Hoti government to be formed as soon as possible (media)

Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) leader Ramush Haradinaj said that after the Constitutional Court’s decision, the Hoti-led government consisting of the LDK, AAK and NISMA, must be formed as soon as possible.

“I welcome the decision of the Constitutional Court which paves way to the formation of the new government. I call on all parties to respect the decision and act accordingly … Every day we lose has a cost on the economy and the wellbeing of the people. Kosovo has no time to lose,” Haradinaj said.

Limaj calls on parties to respect Constitutional Court decision (media)

Leader of the Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA) Fatmir Limaj called on all parties to respect the decision of the Constitutional Court giving Avdullah Hoti the right to form the new government.

“Today’s ruling ended the dilemma of whether the Assembly of Kosovo has the right to elect a new government from the second party following a succesful motion of no confidence! Today’s ruling of the Constitutional Court clarifies the constitutional ways that need to be followed to form institutions and will contribute to preventing institutional stalemates in the future,” Limaj wrote last night on Facebook.

Vetevendosje supporters hold “test-protest” in downtown Prishtina (media)

All media covered on Thursday what was called a “test-protest” in downtown Prishtina by thousands of supporters of the Kurti-led Vetevendosje Movement. The protesters, wearing masks and gloves in line with anti-virus measures, said Kosovo should go to new parliamentary elections after the no-confidence motion against the government, thus rejecting President Thaci’s decision to give the mandate to LDK’s Avdullah Hoti to form a new government.

Border changes promoted with taxpayer money (Kallxo/Prishtina Insight)

BIRN has discovered that in 2019 the Ministry of European Integration paid 168,000 euros to a Paris-based company that promoted the idea that ‘territorial modification’ could be a solution in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.

 In 2019, Kosovo taxpayers forked out 168,000 euros to the Paris-based PR company Majorelle PR & Events through the Ministry of European Integration.

According to documents obtained by BIRN, amongst other things the company was tasked with shaping European opinion in favour of what is described as “Kosovo’s position” supporting “territorial modification” as means to achieve a Kosovo-Serbia peace deal.  

The contract with Majorelle was signed and negotiated in 2018 by Dhurata Hoxha, PDK’s Minister of European Integration in the PAN coalition government led by Ramush Haradinaj. This contract was then extended in March 2019.

One of the few tangible outputs received in return for the 168,000 euros was a vague five-page report in broken English that the company addressed to Qendrim Gashi, Kosovo’s Ambassador to France, which is dated 20 September, 2019. 

The report states that: “The reopening of peace discussions has been quickly focused on territorial border modification and has put on the table the debate/taboo on possible reconsideration of Balkans’ map…”

It also notes that putting Balkan borders back on the negotiating table was “raising surprise, fear, worry on a renewal of Balkan war,” adding that: “This issue has often been misunderstood and misperceived by French media and politics, seeing a possible reopening of Pandora’s box and a high risk of ‘domino effect’ in the region.”

The company’s report makes it clear that altering borders was the agenda being pursued by its Kosovo client, and that these attempts were not cutting through. 

“Kosovo’s position, showing how territorial modification could, on the contrary, serve relations’ pacification and be a way to the resumption of dialogue with Serbia has been inaudible,” the report states.

The report concludes that despite US support and the diminishing of the taboo around the subject in Europe, the window of opportunity for reaching a Kosovo-Serbia deal based on border changes, which had potential in 2018 and 2019, was closing. According to Majorelle, this was due to “internal dissensions and oppositions against peace, the lack of support on both sides…”

Read full article at: https://bit.ly/2Ad6QOD

Osmani: Those who lobbied for partition with taxpayers’ money, want to govern again

Kosovo Assembly President Vjosa Osmani said on Thursday that “the previous government used taxpayers’ money to lobby for ‘border modification’ to give away parts of Kosovo’s territory to Serbia for its genocidal actions against our people. Some of those that were involved in this shame want to govern us again”.

Ambassador Heldt reacts to BIRN story about partition lobbying (Kallxo)

German Ambassador to Kosovo Christian Heldt reacted to the BIRN story of the former Kosovo government hiring a PR company to lobby for partition of Kosovo.

“What a story. And really makes you wonder about the definition of public service for people and country,” he wrote on Twitter.

Mujanovic: First time in history a govt hires lobbyists to partition own territory

Kallxo reported that political scientist Filip Mujanovic took to Twitter to comment on BIRN’s article which showed that in 2019 the Ministry of European Integration paid 168,000 euros to a Paris-based company that promoted the idea that ‘territorial modification’ could be a solution in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.

Mujanovic tweeted: “This is a wild and disturbing read, and maybe the first time in history a govt – that of Kosovo in this case – has hired foreign lobbyists to convince the international community to partition its own territory. This a very bad look, indeed, for Pres. Thaci.”

Haradinaj: I stopped Kosovo’s partition, no one can bring back this issue (media)

The leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and former Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, said in an interview for Syri TV that he stopped Kosovo’s partition when he was Prime Minister. “I stopped the partition of Kosovo. It is no longer on the table and no one can bring back this issue,” he said. 

Asked to comment on his relations with acting Prime Minister and Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti, Haradinaj said Kurti never asked for his assistance and that he had an insulting approach. “He made a decision and then he called to inform me. After the elections, I said I was willing to support the new government on issues of national interest,” Haradinaj added.

President Thaci publishes images of “drug lab”, accuses “Kurti’s group” (media)

Most news outlets reported on Thursday that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci took to Facebook to publish images of what he said was a drug lab in Prishtina.

“These images prove one of the incriminations of the Kurti Group and the political family of the Minister of Justice. These are images from a drug lab in Prishtina. A member of this criminal group, Xhelal Svecla, recently tried to get rid of these incriminating facts from the warehouse of confiscated and seized assets. It is time for them to be brought to justice,” Thaci wrote. 

Svecla: Psychiatric experts should comment on Thaci’s statements (media)

Kosovo’s acting Minister of Interior Affairs, Xhelal Svecla, was asked on Thursday to comment on President Hashim Thaci’s allegations that Svecla, acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti and his advisor Haki Abazi had entered the surveillance room of the Kosovo Post and Telecom. “I am not the right person to comment on this issue. Psychiatric experts should comment on his statements,” Svecla told reporters.

Prosecution initiates investigations on surveillance room allegations (media)

All media reported on Thursday that Kosovo’s Special Prosecution has initiated investigations in relation with President Thaci’s allegations that acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti, his advisor Abazi and acting Interior Minister Svecla had entered the surveillance room of the Kosovo Post and Telecom. “We want to inform you that the State Prosecutor is collecting information to see if there are elements of a criminal act,” the prosecution said.

PDK: VV took data of over 1 million citizens from surveillance room (media)

Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) MP Sejdi Hoxha claimed in a press conference on Thursday that members of the Kurti-led Vetevendosje Movement have taken the data of over 1 million citizens of Kosovo from the surveillance room of the Kosovo Post and Telecom.

Hoxha called on the state prosecution to initiate immediate investigations against senior telecom officials that allegedly allowed senior government members to enter the surveillance room.

Miftaraj: The surveillance case is Thaci’s game, nothing more (Koha)

Political commentator Ehat Miftaraj said in a debate on KTV on Thursday that allegations about the surveillance room in the Kosovo Post and Telecom “are but a game by President Thaci”. He also argued that Thaci has still authority not only in the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) but also in other political parties. 

“Thaci has authority not only in the PDK, but he has allies and contacts with all parties. He has very strong relations with all institutions. In the practical aspect, we are seeing a game by the President with the surveillance, but there is nothing there,” he said.

President’s advisor: Kurti wants to be a dictator (media)

Several media covered on Thursday a Facebook post by Artan Behrami, advisor to Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, who argued that acting Prime Minister and Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti “wants to be the first and last dictator in the history of Kosovo”. 

In a reaction following the Vetevendosje protest in downtown Prishtina on Thursday, Behrami wrote: “The terrace of the government is very low for the perspective from which Kurti views the people. From today there is no dilemma: Albin Kurti wants to be a dictator, the first and last in the history of Kosovo!”

4 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in last 24 hours (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health confirmed four new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

The new cases are from the municipalities of Vushtrri and Gjilan.

Montenegro decides to open border with Kosovo on June 1 (media)

Several media reported on Thursday that Montenegro has decided to open its border with Kosovo on June 1. Montenegro will not however open its border to citizens from Serbia.

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