Public disagreements within the Democratic Party of Kosovo raise questions about the ruling coalition's stability.
By Linda Karadaku for the Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 17/10/12
Parliament speaker Jakup Krasniqi is leading criticism of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci within the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo. [Reuters]
Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and his closest allies in the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) are trying to mend fences with other leaders within the party after a series of heated public disagreements.
A parliamentary session earlier this month turned into an intra-party debate between Jakup Krasniqi, the party's deputy chairman who is also parliament speaker, and its parliamentary group leader Adem Grabovci, during a debate on privatisation in Kosovo.
"PDK is a party that is characterised by an internal democratic spirit, which allows expression of different and contrary opinions. We assess that as a positive thing; it helps us arrive at advanced decisions, which are then brought into the institutions," Grabovci told SETimes.
Grabovci said the public confrontations among the party officials serve to strengthen the governing coalition.
"The coalition is stable and functional the institutions are carrying out their obligations as foreseen. We see what happened in the parliament only as part of democracy. The PDK parliamentary group is unified and we never deny the MPs the right to express their opinions, even if they are different," he said.
Krasniqi had previously publicly accused Thaci and his cabinet of organised crime, and specifically asked him to address the privatisation of Hotel Grand in Pristina.
But Krasniqi also accused some PDK members of stealing votes and joining the party without proper leadership consultations.
Kosovo's opposition appears to be supportive of Krasniqi's position because it touches on two key issues, according to Ismet Beqiri, leader of the opposition Democratic League of Kosovo parliamentary group.
"First, the institutions that emerged from the last elections have a contested legitimacy. The Democratic League of Kosovo has always said that the party in power came there with stolen votes," Beqiri told SETimes.
"Second, the governing coalition is very fragile, with a fragile majority. Most of the Albanian parties are in opposition and the governing coalition has limited numbers in the parliament," he added.
Beqiri said the developments at the ruling party affect the stability of Kosovo because they bring to the surface widespread bad governance and corruption.
"It is difficult to believe this governing coalition will manage to finish its mandate. We are ready to go to elections and to have the vote of the citizens be counted properly," he said.
Divisions within the PDK are a result of individual interests aimed at strengthening individual positions prior to next year's elections, according to Luljeta Azemi, a shopkeeper in Pristina.
"It is not about any new political vision, but only about strengthening individual positions and personal benefits," Azemi told SETimes.