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Kosovo Assembly Election - 2010-12-12

In June 2010, the municipality of Partesh held its first mayoral election, which drew more than 65% of eligible Kosovo Serb voters. There is one remaining Serb-majority municipality to be established through the decentralization process--North Mitrovica. The North Mitrovica Municipal Preparation Team was working under the supervision of the ICO to prepare the municipality for elections and formal establishment.

On September 22, 2010, the Kosovo Constitutional Court ruled that President Sejdiu had violated the constitution by simultaneously holding the position of president and president of his political party, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK). On September 27, Sejdiu resigned as President of the Republic, retaining his post as head of the LDK party until he was unseated in the November 2010 internal party elections.

Speaker of the Assembly Jakup Krasniqi became acting President, in accordance with the constitution. On October 16, in response to deteriorating coalition relations following Sejdius resignation, LDK and its ministers pulled out of the governing coalition, leaving Prime Minister Thaci and his party heading a minority government and leading to calls for early parliamentary elections. On November 2, the Kosovo Assembly approved a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Thaci, and Kosovo held extraordinary elections on December 12, 2010. International observers called the elections relatively efficient and effective.

However, there were serious irregularities in some municipalities, where the Central Election Commission ordered re-votes in January 2011. Domestic and international observers stated the elections met many international standards but noted serious irregularities and electoral manipulations in some areas, including breeches of election procedures, falsification of signatures on the voters list, and irregularities in counting. They reported incidences of family voting (male heads of household voting on behalf of female family members) throughout the country. Observers also cited instances of pressure and intimidation of domestic observers.

Final results were certified February 7, 2011, with PDK maintaining its plurality at 32% of the vote. LDK won 24.7% of the vote, Vetevendosje won 12.7%, AAK won 11%, and AKR won 7.3%. Following 2 weeks of negotiations, Hashim Thaci formed a government with AKR, the sole elected deputy of Rugovas List, and the ethnic minority political parties. Per a coalition agreement, the Assembly elected Behgjet Pacolli as the new president and approved a new coalition government, led by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, on February 22, 2011.

On 30 March 2011, following a request by opposition parties, the Constitutional Court ruled that the Assemblys election of President Pacolli violated the constitution because there was not a valid quorum to conduct the vote and due to the failure of more than one candidate to contest the election. In its decision the court declared that the Assemblys vote was no longer in force and immediately ended Pacollis mandate. Pacolli resigned, and political leaders subsequently agreed on a consensus candidate, and on April 7, the Assembly elected Atifete Jahjaga the first female to hold the office, as President of the Republic. The political agreement was based on significant electoral reform.

In July 2011, a trade dispute with neighboring Serbia, one of Kosovos largest trading partners, led to a total blockade of cross-border trade between the countries for approximately two months. However, free-trade generally resumed between the two countries in September 2011 when Serbia agreed to accept Kosovos customs stamp. Isolated incidents of inter-ethnic and politically-motivated violence as well as sporadic political protests have occurred since then, but none of these events adversely affected Kosovo's political stability or overall economic situation. The Kosovo Police, Kosovo Security Force, and the European Union's Rule-of-Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) have responded to and investigated these events, according to their legal mandate. Kosovos judiciary is augmented by EULEX, which has a Monitoring, Mentoring, and Advising role (MMA) in rule of law matters.

Former Prime Minister Haradinaj was acquitted of all charges on April 3, 2008, but ICTY's Office of the Prosecutor successfully appealed the acquittal and the ICTY ordered a partial re-trial that started August 18, 2011. Haradinaj was in custody in The Hague. On 29 November 2012 former prime minister and rebel chief Ramush Haradinaj is acquitted by the Hague-based UN war crimes tribunal of charges of war crimes during the 1990s conflict.

Politics here moved well beyond the formal provisions that were laid out in the Ahtisaari plan to a situation that is much more like real politics anywhere. However, too often, Serb leaders turn only to other Kosovo Serbs in the Government to try and solve problems or fund projects. Rather than making the Government understand that Kosovo Serb issues are really Kosovo issues, Serb leaders have stovepiped issuesSerb mayors turn to Serb ministers for funding, even when it would make more sense to turn to a ministry not headed by a Serb minister. Kosovo Serb leaders, like all Kosovo politicians, also need to be more responsive and accountable to their voters.





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