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UNMIK Headlines 22 February

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• Krasniqi challenges PDK with his position (dailies)
• Borchardt: EULEX is not doing a political campaign (Koha Ditore)
• Obliged vote for party leaders (Tribuna)
• Pantic being investigated by Kosovo police (Koha Ditore)
• Security ready for elections in north (Tribuna)
• OSCE ready for cooperation (Tribuna)
• Ukё Rugova’s “Empire” (Koha Ditore)

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Headlines – 22.02.2014

Krasniqi challenges PDK with his position (dailies)

Kosovo Assembly Speaker Jakup Krasniqi stated on Friday that he is ready to step down from his current position the moment that he announces the creation of the new party. “I am ready to step down from my position as Assembly speaker, however, if the Assembly considers that I should continue with my mandate, then I might stay,” said Krasniqi. “It depends on the Democratic Party of Kosovo, on what position they will take,” he added. Kosovo Assembly working regulation highlights that the majority party nominates the Speaker of the Assembly. 

Borchardt: EULEX is not doing a political campaign (Koha Ditore)

EULEX chief Bernd Borchardt told Deutche Welle that the EULEX is not making a political campaign. Speaking about the recent arrests of Oliver Ivanovic, Dragoljub Delibasic and Ukё Rugova, as well as the recent charges against the former Minister of Transport, Fatmir Limaj, Borchardt stated that it is only a coincidence that prosecutors gathered sufficient evidence on these cases during the last weeks. “This has nothing to do with courage. Investigations have a normal flow. Sometimes they conclude quickly and in other cases they take more time, and in some cases, you do not find sufficient evidence to raise charges and the case has to be closed,” stated Borchardt.

Obliged vote for party leaders (Tribuna)

Leaders of Kosovo political parties want to appear popular in terms of having the most votes. They do not intend to reach this through campaigning but by taking advantage of the changes in the Law for General Elections, which is in the final phase of amendment. The commission in charge of the amendments of the Law enclosed a proposal, which was already approved by the majority of the members, and which says that the moment an individual with the right of vote votes for a political party, the vote automatically goes to the leader of the party. Civil society objects to such a proposal, considering that it is contradictory and enforces the voter.

Pantic being investigated by Kosovo police (Koha Ditore)

The winner of the 3 November local elections in Mitrovica North, Krstimir Pantic, is being investigated by Kosovo Police (KP) for committing an attack against a Serb citisen. Pantic was questioned by police on 28 January and KP spokesperson Brahim Sadiku confirmed that a Serb citisen reported the case. “This individual gave a statement to police and we are initiating the case now. Pantic gave his statement to the police as well and the case is expected to be proceeded to the Court,” said Sadriu. Even though he did not want to offer further details, the paper learned that Pantic assaulted a citisen. 

Security ready for elections in north (Tribuna)

Security issues in Kosovo are being coordinated for the upcoming elections in Mitrovica North, which will be held on 23 February. Kosovo police, as the first responder, will be present outside the polling centres and at the other significant areas, while being supported by EULEX. KFOR will also be visible in the vicinity of the polling centres, ready to intervene immediately if required. As in the past, this operation is planed to guarantee the right of the vote to citisens and for the process to flow in a regular and safe manner. 

OSCE ready for cooperation (Tribuna)

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Hajredin Kuçi met with OSCE Ambassador in Kosovo Jean-Claude Schlumberger on Friday to discuss the process of the election in the north of Kosovo. Kuçi requested OSCE’s engagement in the elections in the north, which will be organised in accordance with Kosovo laws. He valued the work of the OSCE in the field of justice, especially in promoting human rights and freedoms, with a special focus on minorities. According to the Ministry of Justice’s press release, Schlumberger appreciated the cooperation of Kosovo institutions with the OSCE and expressed readiness to continue in other fields.

Ukё Rugova’s “Empire” (Koha Ditore)

The son of late Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova, Ukё Rugova associated and cooperated with suspicious individuals for a long time. His friend, Izet Beqiri, is suspected to have been part of an Italian drug trafficking network. One of Rugova’s businesses associates him with the former Minister of Culture, Astrit Haraqia, and Bardhy Sejdiu, son of former Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu. Another suspect that is part of this network, Florian Preteni, has built a great fortune in Kosovo. Four of his vehicles are confiscated, and he also possesses an expensive house in vicinity of Pristina. Rugova is suspected to have been the leader of this group. 

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