Kosovo - Government
Kosovo is a parliamentary democracy. The constitution and laws provide for the authorities and responsibilities of the freely elected unicameral national Assembly, the Assembly-approved government, and the Assembly-elected president. On 17 February, 2008 Kosovo was declared a sovereign and independent state on 17 February 2008, in the extraordinary meeting of the Assembly of Kosovo. The Declaration of Independence was an Act of the Assembly of Kosovo as an Interim Institution of Self-Government, unanimously recognized by all present members of the Assembly, who were 109. The Declaration of Independence was read by the Prime minister of Kosovo, Mr. Hashim Thaqi.
Under the Yugoslav constitution of 1974, Kosova was equivalent in most ways to Slovenia, Croatia and the other republics of the former Yugoslavia. As an autonomous province, Kosova, in practice, exercised the same powers as a republic. It had its own parliament, it had its own high courts, it had its own central bank, police service, and defense force. Through its definition in 1968 as a part of the Yugoslav Federal system, it gained representation at the Federal level.
Kosovo was iniitally administered by the UN Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) pursuant to UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1244 of 1999. UNMIK promulgated regulations that addressed the civil and legal responsibilities of governmental entities and private individuals and ratified laws passed by the Kosovo Assembly. The UNMIK-promulgated Constitutional Framework for Provisional Self-Government in Kosovo defined the provisional institutions of self-government (PISG). The Provisional Institutions of Self-Government, including a President, Prime Minister, and Kosovo Assembly, had been in place since March 2002, and municipal elections were successfully held for a second time on October 26, 2002. But final authority to Special Representative of Secretary General of the United Nations.
In November 2005, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland, to lead a future status process. Special Envoy Ahtisaari's diplomatic efforts addressed a broad range of issues important to Kosovo's future, including decentralization of local government, protecting Kosovo's cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo, economic issues, and safeguarding the rights of minorities. Over the course of 2006 and early 2007, Ahtisaari brought together officials from Belgrade and Pristina to discuss these practical issues and the question of status itself. Ahtisaari subsequently developed a comprehensive proposal for Kosovo's future status, which set forth a series of recommendations on Kosovo's democratic governance and substantial protections for minorities.
The draft of the new Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo was prepared and published in April 2008. Most of the articles of the Draft-Constitution were based and stemmed from the Ahtisaari plan; therefore the Constitution guaranteed special rights for the minority groups and ensured a safe environment for all citizens of the Republic of Kosovo. The Republic of Kosovo respects the international right. Every person and institution in the Republic of Kosovo is subject to the provision of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court is an independent authority for the protection of the constitutionality and for the final interpretation of the Constitution.
The Kosovo Assembly passed its new, fully Ahtisaari-compliant Constitution with 97 votes in favor during an 09 April 2008 extraordinary session.With more than a year of drafting and Commission meetings, thousands of public comments and hundreds of revisions, the Kosovo constitutional process is both authentic in terms of local ownership and fully compliant with Ahtisaari provisions. The document was painstakingly put together with wide representation from all political parties, civil society and other interested local stakeholders. The constitution also has broad legitimacy among Kosovo's population; even normally cynical media commentators have acknowledged that the multiple provisions for minorities are the necessary price for Kosovo's independence. The document's passage should provide further proof to those in the international community who need it that Kosovo remains on a multi-ethnic path, despite the obvious difficulties and continuing provocations from outside and within.
The Republic of Kosovo is a democratic republic based on the principle of division of governments and check and balances among them. In the Republic of Kosovo the legislative power is exercised by the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo. As such, the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo is the highest representative and legislative institution in Republic of Kosovo directly elected by the people. The Assembly comprises 120 deputies elected by secret ballot. However, not all deputies are elected by the free vote of the people – secret and democratic voting. Twenty of deputy seats are reserved for supplementary representation of other non-Albanian communities, and of those, ten seats for the Serbian community and ten seats for Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian community 4, Bosnian community 3, Turkish community 2 and Gorani community 1.
The mandate for the composition of legislature by the Assembly of Kosovo is three years from the first inaugurating session. The Assembly is the highest legal act of the Republic of Kosovo. Laws and other legal acts should be in accordance with this Constitution. The Constitution is a system of government, often coded in the form of a document, which lays the basis of fundamental rules and principles of an autonomous republic. The Constitution determines the fundamental principle policies, structure, procedures, power and responsibility of the government. The governing power in the Republic of Kosovo stems from the Constitution. The methods of work and decision making procedures of the Government are regulated by law and regulations.
The Presient is the head of the state and represents the unity of the people of the Republic of Kosovo. Any citizen of the Republic of Kosovo, who is thirty five years (35) or older may be elected President of the Republic of Kosovo. The President is elected by the Assembly, in secret ballot. The election of the President of the Republic of Kosovo shall take place no later than thirty (30) days before the end of the current President’s term of office. The President is elected by a two thirds (2/3) majority of all the deputies of the Assembly. The President of the Republic of Kosovo begins his/her term after taking the oath before the Assembly of Kosovo. The text of the oath is provided by law. The President’s term of office is five (5) years. Upon completion of his/her term of office the President may be reelected only once. The President can not exercise any other public function. After the election, the President can not exercise any political party functions.
The Government of Kosovo exercises the executive power in accordance with the Constitution and with law. The Government of Kosovo is composed by the Prime minister, vice-prime ministers and ministers.The Government implements the laws and acts ratified by the Assembly of Kosovo, and carries out other activities within the responsibilities defined by the Constitution and law. The Government takes decisions in accordance with the Constitution and laws, and proposes draft laws and amendments of existing laws and other acts, and may give opinion about the draft laws that were not proposed by the Government. The Government reports to the Assembly of Kosovo for its work. The Prime minister, vice-prime ministers and ministers share the responsibility for the decisions taken by the Government, and take the individual responsibility for the decisions taken in the scope of their responsibilities.
The Supreme Court of Kosovo is the highest judicial authority. Organization, functioning and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and other courts are regulated by law. At least fifteen percent (15%) of the judges of the Supreme Court, but not fewer than three (3) judges, shall be from communities that are not in the majority in Kosovo. The Kosovo judicial system started adapting to the new legal charter on June 15, 2008. Supreme Court judges and prosecutors, district court judges, and municipal courts judges already appointed by the SRSG will continue to serve in their posts until the expiry of their appointment. Following the December 2008 transfer of rule of law functions to the Government of Kosovo, the Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC) has proposed to the President of Kosovo candidates for appointment or reappointment as judges and prosecutors.
Municipalities are the fundamental territorial units of local self-government in the Republic of Kosovo. The organization and the competencies of local self-government units are regulated by law. In the municipalities where at least ten percent (10%) of population belongs to communities, the post of the vice president of municipal assembly shall be reserved for one representative of these communities.The municipal assembly shall ratify the statute and amend it if such an action is considered necessary. The statute regulates the implementation of the responsibilities of the municipality as provided for by this Regulation. The decision for the ratification or amendment of the statute shall be taken by the majority of two thirds of the members present in the assembly, who cast their votes when such proposal is put forth.
The municipal assembly shall ratify the procedure regulations and shall amend them if such an action is considered necessary. The procedure regulations must ensure leadership and control, including the efficient financial control of the municipal administration. The decision for the ratification or amendment of procedural regulations is taken by more than half of the members present in the assembly, who cast their votes when the proposal is put forth.
The process of reformation of local government and decentralization constitutes a very complex process and requires the establishment of new municipalities, gradual transfer of competencies from central governments to local government, by raising the local capacities for an efficient self-government, by reforming the local finance system, as well as by ratifying new laws. Creation of a sustainable and effective system of local self-government throughout the territory of Kosovo would ensure better life conditions for all its citizens, paying special attention to the needs and concerns of non-majority communities in Kosovo.
In 2005, UNMIK and the Government of Kosovo approved a draft document for reformation of Local Government and decentralization. This process requires action by all ministries under the direction of Inter-ministerial Group for Decentralization (IGD) headed by the Minister for Administration of Local Government in order to create policies and take actions for the establishment of new municipalities and implementation of the process of decentralization. The local government of Kosovo now consists of 30 municipalities and 3 Municipal pilot units with wide competencies in many fields. The establishment of 6 (5+1) new municipalities as well as the conversion of Municipal pilot units into municipalities with full rights has been planned.
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