Kosovo’s Constitutional Court has ruled in favor of President Hashim Thaçi, granting the right to form a new government to the second largest party (LDK) and sidestepping the election winner (LVV).
The court ruling, which was made public at 22.30 on Thursday, states that the President doesn’t necessarily have to call fresh elections when the government loses parliament’s support, and the formation of a new government without the election winner is constitutional.
The elections winner, Levizja Vetevendosje (LVV) of acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti, called the ruling “scandalous” and announced fresh protests demanding early elections.
President Thaçi and the nominee for prime minister from runner-up party LDK, Avdullah Hoti, welcomed the ruling and called for a quick voting on the new government.
The government led by LVV’s Albin Kurti was toppled in a no-confidence vote initiated by junior coalition partner LDK in March, 52 days after it took power. The President did not call new elections, as in two other previous cases, but asked LVV to form a new government. The Constitution sets no deadline for election winner to nominate a candidate for prime minister, however President Thaçi asked the runner up, LDK, to form a new government after LVV didn’t submit a nominee for 20 days.
The Constitutional Court has argued in its ruling that the lack of a specific deadline in the Constitution does not mean that the election winner can indefinitely drag the nomination of a candidate to lead the new government. According to the ruling, the spirit of the Constitution requires the party or coalition to act swiftly in forming the government, in collaboration with the President.
“The Court emphasizes that the appointment of a nominee for Prime Minister includes not only the obligation of the President to decree it, nor only the right of the winning political party to nominate this nominee, but also the obligation of the latter to propose or refuse to propose the candidate for Prime Minister. More precisely, determining the nominee for Prime Minister includes the obligation of mutual cooperation of the President and the winning political party in this process,” the ruling states.
It still remains unclear how much time the election winner can take before submitting a nominee for prime minister, and why the 20-day deadline effectively put in place by the President is constitutional. However, the Court is expected to publish the ruling in full in the coming days.
Minister of Justice from LVV, Albulena Haxhiu stated that the Court “gave a blow to the will of people” through a “scandalous ruling”.
Foreign Minister Glauk Konjufca said protests would “follow from natural discontent”.
Whilst the country is about to exit the coronavirus crisis with relatively satisfying results, it appears that it will enter a summer of protests as an extension of the political crisis, and amidst increased international pressure to sign a final agreement with Serbia as soon as possible.