WED, 19 DEC 2001 01:44:42 GMT
AIM Pristina, December 12, 2001
After a few-hours' delay because Head of OUN Mission in Kosovo, Hans
Hakkaerup, was late, with sharp debates, the first constitutive session
of Kosovo parliament was held as the result of November 17 elections
organized by OSCE under international monitoring.
Like on all first nights, it seems that this one was also well prepared.
Early in the morning, when accredited journalists were supposed to
appear in the parliament building, the officials of UNMIK press service
distributed "copies of the scenarios" to the frostbitten journalists by
mistake. What they received was the speech of the civil administrator,
but it included also instructions like for a real performance in which
it was written in brackets and in bold: "In case a representative of the
Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) begins to question the procedure, the
microphone should be turned off". UNMIK officials managed to collect
some of the papers they had distributed by mistake, but there were
journalists who hung on to theirs claiming that it was "an argument for
denying the regularity of the parliamentary session". The mentioned
political party used the same explanation later on.
Chroniclers of Kosovar circumstances noted: The first session of the
parliament of Kosovo after 12 years began without a national anthem,
without a national flag and without the pledge of allegiance of the
deputies. In his speech, Hans Hakkaerup, the cool Dane (as known to the
Kosovo Albanian public) among other declared to the deputies that the
parliament was inaugurated and estimated that this was a significant
step towards implementation of OUN Security Council Resolution 1244.
Then he called the President of Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) to
nominate two members of his party for the presidency of the assembly of
Kosovo one of whom would be the chairman of the Assembly according to
the established mechanism.
Connoisseurs of the local political scene were not surprised when the
Democratic Party of Kosovo headed by Hashim Thaci (former political
leader of Kosovo Liberation Army) failed to nominate its representatives
stating that they had not been elected yet. This is what Fatmir Limaj,
an influential member of this party said among other from the parliament
platform: "We asked Hakkaerup that a representative of the Jashari
family be invited"... At this point Hakkaerup turned off the microphone
explaining that Mr.Limaj did not stick to the agenda. "Mister Limaj, I
am forced to call your attention that you must stick to the determined
item on the agenda", said Hakkaerup, ruling the representative of
Democratic Party of Kosovo out of order.
The microphone was also turned off to the head of the group of deputies
of Return coalition Rada Trajkovic for the same reason, but she had
managed to express regret because representatives of Return coalition
had had difficulties to arrive to the session and because Yugoslav
officials were not present at the constitutive session. After the
warning, she nominated two members of the presidency of the assembly,
Gojko Savic and Oliver Ivanovic. The Ashkalis, Romanies and Egyptians
nominated a representative of their own, and informed that next year,
instead of theirs, a representative of Bosniacs would be in the
presidency of the parliament, and the year after that a representative
of the Turkish community.
In the meantime, because their representatives were prevented from
speaking, deputies of PDK left the session, but returned after
completion of the vote. With 78 votes in favour, three against and two
abstainers, five-member presidency of the parliament was elected, and
Nexhat Daci, a member of the Academy of Sciences and member of LDK, was
elected to chair the parliament. During the vote 27 deputies of PDK were
absent as well as eight deputies of the Alliance for the future of
Kosovo (AAK) of Ramush Haradinaj.
After a short break, when Nexhat Daci had already taken over the post of
the chairman of the parliament and declared that after consultations
during the break with members of the presidency he agreed that the
session continue in three days, president of PDK Hashim Thaci took the
floor and demanded a competent explanation why the session was postponed
using the opportunity to oppose the way the first session was conducted
declaring that the deputies’ immunity of the members of his party was
violated. “Since today is December 10, the Day of Human Rights, I can
tell the citizens and the officials of the international community
present in this hall that Mr. Hakkaerup has committed the most serious
violation of human rights in the world”. After that, the microphone was
turned off to Mr. Thaci and then Nexhat Daci said that the platform
could not be used for criticizing the envoy of OUN Secretary General,
closing the session one more time. That was the end of the constituting
session of the assembly of Kosovo.
After the session, Ibrahim Rugova declared to journalists that the talks
for government coalition were completed: “We haven’t reached an
agreement, that is why the chairman of the parliament was elected today,
then the president of Kosovo will be elected and DSK will form the
government. We suggested that PDK and AAK have five ministries, two
deputy prime ministers and deputy chairman of the parliament”, said Mr.
Rugova who will be officially nominated for the president of Kosovo by
his party at the next session.
>From the assembly hall tensions moved to the seats of political parties.
PDK held a press conference and declared that the parliament session had
been directed and manipulated criticizing Mr. Hakkaerup for having
turned the microphone off to the representative of this party. This
party sent a letter of protest to OUN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, in
which they demanded “disciplinary measures” be taken against Mr.
Hakkaerup. Representatives of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo were
also angry. “Dr. Rugova knows only too well that he had made up the
posts because according to the Constitutional Framework there is no such
thing as either deputy prime ministers or deputy chairmen of the
assembly”, said Bujar Dugolli, representative of AAK. Leader of this
party Haradinaj had invested great effort the previous days to establish
a large coalition of Kosovo Albanians. “Rugova decided to form a
coalition with the Serbs. Let him do it”, Mr. Dugolli commented. “I wish
him good luck in the coalition with Return”, Driton Lajci of PDK also
declared. On the other hand, president of the parliamentary group of PDK
Jakup Krasniqi declared that he did not believe that a progress would be
made until the continuation of the session of the assembly of Kosovo. “I
don’t think that Mr. Rugova is ready to form a coalition with the
Albanian parties”, Krasniqi declared.
The criticism of those who will definitely be the opposition in the
parliament of Kosovo is generally aimed at defaming LDK and its moderate
leader Ibrahim Rugova by accusing him that he has elected the chairman
of the assembly and that he intends to be elected president of Kosovo
with the votes he will get in the third round of voting from Serb Return
On the other hand, sources close to LDK claim that a day after the
constituting session Rugova “checked internal opposition within his own
party which believed that a coalition with the other two political
parties was necessary in order to establish the institutions of Kosovo”.
He allegedly said that he had no intention to depart from the previous
offers “regardless of consequences”. In an interview for BBC, Rugova
said that there had been opposition in his party because much was
offered to rival parties.
And what do Kosovo analysts think? Majority of them believe that the
ethnic Albanian political scene will completely disintegrate and that
two powerful blocs will be created, one in power which will refer to
legality operating within the institutions of Kosovo and the other bloc,
the opposition, which will be against anything that the former
undertakes, doing their best in the meantime to make Serb deputies the
allies of Mr. Rugova.
According to them, 22 deputies of Return coalition will manage to become
the main axis of developments in the parliament. “They will manage to
stir up a series of attacks within the ethnic Albanian bloc, alternately
taking sides with institutionalism represented by Rugova, and then with
those who will be blocking the process – identifying with the faction
that is opposing Rugova and who will vote against or abstain practically
always”, Albanian analysts believe.
If that actually happens, it seems certain that in the next three years
– for as long as the term of the institutions of power in Kosovo lasts,
the deputies will forget the promises given to the voters - that they
are ready to work for the benefit of Kosovo and that they would overcome