- COVID-19: 299 new cases, one death (media)
- Osmani rejects Lajcak’s remarks on Kosovo’s recognition (RFE/Koha)
- Hoti: We will spare no one during election campaign (Koha)
- VV announces candidates from Pristina, Kurti leads the ticket (media)
- Hoxhaj says PDK will emerge as the most voted party (media)
- CEC: 888 polling stations to be open on election day across Kosovo (media)
- Von Cramon speaks about election challenges Kosovo faces (DW)
- Ombudsperson: CEC to avoid any action that undermines right to vote (media)
- Phillips: Time for the West to give ultimatum to Serbia (Telegrafi)
- Hamza: PDK would have negotiated a better deal in Washington (Klan)
- Petkovic refused permission to visit Kosovo (Klan)
- Hoti appoints Muharrem Nitaj acting Minister of Economy (media)
- Has an SPO indictment been rejected by pre-trial judge? (Lajmi/RTK)
COVID-19: 299 new cases, one death (media)
299 new cases of COVID-19 and one death have been recorded in Kosovo over the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, 526 recoveries have been reported over the same time period.
Osmani rejects Lajcak’s remarks on Kosovo’s recognition (RFE/Koha)
Acting President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani reacted to the statement made by the EU Special Representative for Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak that if Serbia does not change position on Kosovo, the five EU member states that have not recognised Kosovo could follow suit.
Osmani said it would be regrettable if the five EU countries subjected their foreign policy to that of Serbia and Russia, Radio Free Europe reported. “Apart from being regrettable, it is also dangerous for the entire European Union for five of its member states determining their rules and positions based on the wishes and demands of Serbia,” Osmani said and went on to call on the five EU countries to recognise the reality and the ruling of the International Court of Justice and recognise Kosovo and not wait for Serbia to do this beforehand.
Speaking to reporters at the conclusion of her two-day visit to Brussels, Osmani said that whoever wins February 14 elections will reject any idea of border changes. “I have emphasized that regardless of the election results, it is clear that Kosovo will reject any idea that may affect its borders or its functionality or internal regulation,” Osmani is quoted in Koha.
She also said that the current Government of Kosovo led by Avdullah Hoti made a big mistake in reopening the issue of the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities. “The protection of the constitutional order and the internal functioning of the country should be among the key priorities because notwithstanding the fact that the idea of border changes is extremely dangerous and we should all reject it, a similar danger can be posed by ideas which can create separate entities in the north of the country because this means that after a few years this may result in partition,” she added.
Hoti: We will spare no one during election campaign (Koha)
Outgoing Prime Minister of Kosovo and Democratic League of Kosovo’s candidate for the future one, Avdullah Hoti, said yesterday that they will not be sparing anyone criticism during the election campaign.
Hoti’s remarks follow those of the Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti who said that the recent flooding brought to surface the bad governance in Kosovo for the last 20 years. “We will not stand by and allow people to be brainwashed. Kosovo has been facing floods for the last three days and instead of seeking the government’s engagement, Kurti comes out and threatens that prosecutors will be looking into a road or a fence that has not been well constructed somewhere,” Hoti said.
Meeting LDK members in Drenas, Hoti said that the party’s electorate needs to be mobilised in order to, as he said, not allow Kosovo stray away from the pro-Western course. “We took over leadership at a time when there were serious threats of the U.S. troops withdrawal and we managed as a government to deploy the Kosovo army to missions alongside the U.S. army.”
VV announces candidates from Pristina, Kurti leads the ticket (media)
The Vetevendosje Movement (VV) branch in Pristina has endorsed the candidates for upcoming elections which also include leader Albin Kurti.
VV’s Atdhe Arifi said that apart from Kurti, the other candidates that will run for elections from the region of Pristina include Glauk Konjufca, Arben Vitia, Albulena Haxhiu, Lirun Aliu, Xhelal Svecla, Fitore Pacolli and Hatixhe Hoxha.
Koha points out that political parties have until Saturday to prepare their list of candidates. It adds that based on the Constitutional Court persons that have been convicted in the last three years have no right to take part in the election process and that Kurti and Pacolli have been conditionally convicted by a court during this period.
Hoxhaj says PDK will emerge as the most voted party (media)
Acting leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and candidate for prime minister, Enver Hoxhaj, said only his party can take Kosovo out of the crisis which he said the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and the Vetevendosje Movement (VV) are responsible for. He said the PDK will be the most voted party come elections in February.
Speaking at a news conference yesterday about what the party’s proposed recovery package, Hoxhaj said: “There is no other political party with more knowledge and determination to resolve the problems the citizens are facing. The citizens are worried about the economy, healthcare, and the high level of corruption. The PDK is the only political entity that can get the country out of the political crisis, out of the mud put into by two parties – LDK and VV.”
Hoxhaj also called Albin Kurti, VV leader, to five TV debates ahead of February 14 elections saying they will present an opportunity for the citizens to see who is better prepared. He also announced that the party has adopted “Recovery” as the slogan under which it will run in the upcoming elections.
CEC: 888 polling stations to be open on election day across Kosovo (media)
The Central Election Commission announced that 888 polling stations will be opened across Kosovo on election day, February 14.
“The CEC has approved the list of polling stations where the voting process will take place on February 14. There will be a total of 888 polling stations, which will open on election day in 38 municipalities of the Republic of Kosovo,” said CEC spokesperson Valmir Elezi.
Von Cramon speaks about election challenges Kosovo faces (DW)
Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, European Parliament rapporteur for Kosovo and former head of the EU Election Observation Mission for Kosovo 2019 elections, spoke to Deutsche Welle about challenges in organising early elections. “This time the elections will take place under unprecedented circumstances, which will be very challenging for Kosovo, so some issues must be resolved beforehand. Due to external factors, there will obviously be no full international election observation mission, but international experts will follow the events on the ground. This shows the commitment of the international community. The European Union Office in Kosovo is also providing significant support with its expertise. We have asked the President of the European Parliament for a Parliamentary Observer Mission and we are awaiting a response from him,” she said.
Von Cramon said that due to the short time between the announcement of the election date and the voting day, serious problems with votes from outside Kosovo can be expected and as a result the majority of the Diaspora members will not be able to vote. This, she added, is something that needs to be addressed immediately.
“Kosovo has experienced political instability in the recent years. There were months without a government in place and without a functional parliamentary majority. This does not only have an impact on the level of the governance but at a time of the COVID-19 crisis, it can bear a cost in human lives. Therefore, I encourage all political actors to think about the future and discuss the possible majorities and coalitions, even pre-electoral ones, in order to ensure a smooth transition and the formation of a functional government as quickly as possible,” she said.
Ombudsperson: CEC to avoid any action that undermines right to vote (media)
Kosovo’s Ombudsperson Institution said in a press release that the verification of voter registration forms by the Central Election Commission is necessary to guarantee the credibility of the election process but at the same time underscored that the right to vote is guaranteed to everyone over 18 years of age, unless otherwise decided by a court ruling.
With regards to the most recent CEC decision on the procedure for verification of voter registration forms from the Diaspora, Ombudsperson said: “While the law guarantees the right to vote from outside the country, it is the obligation of the state for the electoral process to be organized properly in practice so as to enable the process to be fair and democratic by enabling as high involvement of citizens with the right to vote as possible. Therefore, it is necessary for the CEC to avoid any action that could restrict the essence of the right to vote of voters outside Kosovo, guaranteed by the legal framework of the country.”
The Ombudsperson also urged political parties to respect the 50% gender representation in their tickets.
Phillips: Time for the West to give ultimatum to Serbia (Telegrafi)
David Phillips, Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, said in an interview with TV Dukagjini that the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia is dragging on and that it is time for the western countries to give an ultimatum to Serbia for finalisation of an agreement with Kosovo.
Phillips said that the dialogue needs to have a clear agenda. “Are the parties negotiating for a mutual recognition” Are they talking about other arrangements as part of a strategy for mitigation of conflict? My personal view is that dialogue should be focusing on Kosovo’s recognition by Serbia as a sovereign country within the current borders. This is the only way for a sustainable and peaceful agreement.”
Phillips argued that conditions of the final agreement should be drafted up and presented to the Serbian side. “The West should offer Serbia an agreement as a done deal: take it or leave it. This process is dragging on for much too long. The parties should be focusing on a final agreement that would be binding. It is not difficult to predict what the agreement would include, of course it is difficult to think that the Serb Orthodox Church will recognise independence of Kosovo but there is no other solution.”
He also noted that the Washington agreement of September 4 did not produce any results: “It was simply a political statement signed by the teams of Avdullah Hoti and [Aleksandar] Vucic. Their signatures did not appear in the same paper. The only historic thing could be considered the decision for Israel to recognise Kosovo.”
Hamza: PDK would have negotiated a better deal in Washington (Klan)
Deputy leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Bedri Hamza said in a TV debate in Klan Kosova that his party would have negotiated a better agreement in Washington than the one signed by the outgoing Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti.
“We have not been against agreements or against going to the White House,” Hamza said and when asked whether the PDK would have signed the Washington agreement as it stands, he said: “We would have negotiated. I believe we would have managed to get a better deal.”
Petkovic refused permission to visit Kosovo (Klan)
Petar Petkovic, head of the Serbian Government’s Office for Kosovo, has not been permitted to visit Kosovo, confirmed Kosovo’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla.
She said the decision not to allow Petkovic into Kosovo is because of “Serbia’s destructive behaviour” including the arrest of Kosovo citizens, use of illegal ways to bring into Kosovo “suspicious” vaccines, lobbying against statehood of Kosovo, and increasing provocations and threats against Kosovo.
Hoti appoints Muharrem Nitaj acting Minister of Economy (media)
Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti has appointed Muharrem Nitaj from the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) as acting Minister of Economy.
The moves comes after Blerim Kuqi, also from AAK, asked Hoti to relieve him of duty as he wanted to focus his efforts in the forthcoming election campaign.
Has an SPO indictment been rejected by pre-trial judge? (Lajmi/RTK)
RTK reports that an indictment filed by the Specialist Prosecutor in The Hague is with the pre-trial judge since 14 February of 2020 and that no follow-up steps have been taken since. It also says that the rules specify that a pre-trial judge has six months to decide whether to confirm or reject a proposed indictment.
Specialist Chambers spokesperson Angela Griep told Lajmi.net that the act of the indictment remains completely confidential until a decision by the judge. Griep added however that depending on the specificities of a certain case, the indictment could be made public even after the expiration of the six-month timeframe.
Griep said that in any case, a confirmed indictment has to be made public no later than the initial court appearance of the accused. “At the same time, the pre-trial judge is not obliged to make it public if an indictment is rejected,” she added.