In an exclusive interview with SETimes, Interim President Jakup Krasniqi discusses his mandate and Kosovo's political future.
By Linda Karadaku for Southeast European Times in Pristina – 15/10/10
Kosovo Parliament Speaker Jakup Krasniqi took over as acting president in September. [Laura Hasani/SETimes]
Kosovo Parliament Speaker Jakup Krasniqi took the reins as interim president in late September after Fatmir Sejdiu stepped down from his post. During his six-month mandate, Krasniqi will face several challenges, including a decision on early elections and the possibility of launching talks with Belgrade.
SETimes: Has the resignation of former President Fatmir Sejdiu created an institutional crisis in Kosovo?
Jakup Krasniqi: There is no institutional vacuum in Kosovo because the constitution foresees that, in case of health issues or resignation, the function is exercised by the parliamentary speaker for a period of six months. The developments that ensued after Sejdiu's resignation are in accordance with the constitution.
SETimes: Will early elections be held? When?
Krasniqi: I have met with the representatives of all political parties who had different requests on when to hold the elections. All parties agreed to have early elections. The date is yet to be decided, and again will be a result of a consensus among the parties.
It is important to respect time limits defined by the constitution, according to which the mandate of the person who exercises the duty of the Kosovo president expires [in six months] on March 28th. I will ensure that the timing of the elections be in accordance with the ending of the mandate appointed to me by the constitution.
SETimes: Will Kosovo enters talks with Serbia before the elections and before new institutions are constituted?
Krasniqi: Our country is politically prepared to enter talks with Belgrade as two equal states, to discuss issues of mutual interest. The talks should be held with the [new] government, because they will be held over time. I do not think the EU [as an entire bloc] is prepared to recognise Kosovo -- a unity that should exist if the Union is to be a serious facilitator in this process.
SETimes: Is the nomination of the president from the parliament a closed issue now, before the elections are held?
Krasniqi: There is no forthcoming will to nominate the president because of a tradition created among us -- even though it is a bit strange -- that the nomination of the president is related to formation of the governing coalition.
SETimes: Your party, the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), is currently leading the three main institutions of the country. Do you think this creates lack of stability in Kosovo?
Krasniqi: My function comes as a constitutional obligation. Exercising the duty of the president, all my focus is on the basis of the constitution and the set time limits. There can be no instability when all institutions are functioning properly.
SETimes: How are the PDK's relations with the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK)?
Krasniqi: All leaders of the political parties are focused on the timing of the elections and preparations for the elections. There have been meetings between the coalition leaders, the LDK and PDK. They are interested in preserving political stability and security without creating a political crisis.
SETimes: Will the future Kosovo president be elected by parliament or directly by the people?
Krasniqi: According to the constitution, the president is elected by the parliament. This will remain so until constitutional changes are made in the future. Whatever way used to elect him, the president should be the moral persona, representative and unifying of the majority of the citizens of Kosovo.