As has become almost a tradition in recent weeks, the PDK-AAK-Nisma (PAN) coalition today (Monday, Aug. 14) once again decided not to participate in the continued inaugural session of Kosovo’s Assembly. It is the fifth time since the inaugural session opened on Aug. 3 that PAN — as well as the 20 deputies representing minority communities — have chosen to stay away. Their continued absence prevents the election of the president of the Assembly that would pave the way to forming a government.
Only 53 deputies, all of them from either Vetevendosje or the LDK-AKR-Alternativa (LAA) coalition, were present in the Assembly hall, not enough to reach the quorum of 61 required to hold votes. However in the absence of PAN, no vote could have taken place regardless since, in line with a controversial 2014 Constitutional Court decision, as the largest party or coalition in the June 11 election, it has the first right to propose a candidate for Assembly president.
PAN has continually rejected being part of the inaugural session, justifying its actions by saying that it needs more time for consultations. It has also accused Vetevendosje of capturing the Assembly by using Adem Mikullovci for party purposes in his position of chair of the inaugural session; Mikullovci has the role by virtue of being the oldest elected deputy.
Opponents have questioned PAN’s reasoning for its absence, pointing to the fact that the coalition has made repeated statements in the past two months since the election claiming to have enough support to elect both an Assembly president and a government. They say that PAN is stalling because it does not have the votes to secure the role of Assembly president for their presumed candidate, PDK leader Kadri Veseli.
On Sunday the “Quint” embassies of the U.S., U.K., Germany, France and Italy issued a statement saying they are “concerned by the ongoing political situation in Kosovo” and highlighting that it is the “responsibility of Kosovo’s leaders to form these institutions,” adding that concrete proposals are required to move the situation forward.
“An important first principle is that deputies elected to the Kosovo Assembly should attend Assembly sessions and allow its work to begin,” the statement concluded.
After it was confirmed that there was no quorum in this morning’s session, Mikullovci opened the podium for speeches by any of the present deputies.
Vetevendosje’s Glauk Konjufca criticized PAN’s decision not to participate in the session, stating that “this is typical of them.” “Where is the problem? It is very simple, they do not have the numbers either to elect the president of the Assembly or to form the government,” he said. “PAN is driven by a totalitarian logic: ‘It’s either us in power or there is no alternative.’”