President Arifete Jahjaga affirmed she will carry out her five-year term and appealed to the political party leaders to sort out their differences over the April 2011 agreement.
By Muhamet Brajshori for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 05/09/12
Isa Mustafa, chairman of the Democratic League of Kosovo, has pulled his party out of the parliamentary committees on constitutional and electoral reform. [Reuters]
Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci is urging the opposition Democratic League of Kosovo to return to the parliamentary election and constitution reform committees from which it withdrew earlier, in an effort to calm a potentially divisive political situation.
"Democracy means participation and not blocking. Citizens need electoral reform for two reasons: to express their will and to respect the election outcome," Kuci said.
The League left the committees just weeks before the end of supervised independence was announced this month over a disagreement regarding President Arifete Jahjaga's mandate.
"LDK will not be part of the commission unless the agreement on the president achieved in the resolution that we have supported [in April 2011] is respected," Haki Demolli, chairman of the parliamentary election reform committee and a League MP, said.
Jahjaga was elected in April 2011 as part of an agreement between the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo and the League to undertake constitutional and electoral reform.
The agreement stipulates that presidential elections to replace Jahjaga will be called six months after approving the constitutional reform.
Kosovo's constitutional court, however, ruled in July that Jahjaga's mandate is for five years.
"Resignation is not intended in the political agreement at the proposed constitutional amendments. ... I am committed to respecting the constitution and the laws," Jahjaga said. "[Resignation] would lead to a new crisis; constitutional reform and electoral reform is a process that has begun and will continue until the election of a new president."
The League's move manifests the anger about not implementing a standing agreement which helped Jahjaga be elected and stabilise Kosovo's political scene, according to Ardian Arifaj, senior researcher at the Institute for Policy Research and Development in Pristina.
"The party's departure from an ad-hoc parliamentary committee is certainly not a political crisis but may be an overture to one," Arifaj told SETimes.
Arifaj said the agreement also contains important points regarding reforming the electoral system and praised the work of the committee as it developed recommendations to be made into law.
"The unwillingness of the political parties to accept fundamental changes in the electoral system, however ... has been an obstacle," Arifaj said.
While some citizens said the opposition has a legitimate grievance, many argued the League's action may do more damage than good.
Behare Visoka, a Pristina-based economist, told SETimes, "It is unclear whether LDK's move will serve to reach its goal. I do not know if this was a smart move because supervised independence ends in September, and it will be up to the voters to decide."
Kushtrim Hysa, 32, a doctor from Pristina, told SETimes, "The move was expected. They could not do anything else as they have been ignored by Jahjaga and the PDK for months."
In that sense, the party did the right thing, he added.
Arifaj says that even if the ruling party decides to implement the full agreement, it is up to Jahjaga to decide.
"Therefore, even if the agreement is respected in full, it does not mean Jahjaga will resign, because she has not signed the agreement," Arifaj said.