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Kosovo - Politics

Kosovo is a parliamentary democracy. The constitution and laws provide for an elected unicameral parliament, the Assembly, which in turn elects a president, whose choice of prime minister the Assembly must approve. Civilian authorities maintained effective control of the security forces.

Human rights issues included refoulement; endemic government corruption; crimes involving violence or threats of violence against journalists; and attacks against members of ethnic minorities or other marginalized communities, including by security forces. The government sometimes took steps to prosecute and punish officials who committed abuses in the security services or elsewhere in the government. Many in the government, the opposition, civil society, and the media believed that senior officials engaged in corruption with impunity.

National unity has unraveled since the country declared independence in 2008. Kosovo's present conditions are bleak: Ethnic disputes remain unresolved, crimes committed during the 1990s war remain unprosecuted, and there are serious corruption, extreme poverty and mass emigration to deal with.

After indepedence, Serb hardliners employed violence and intimidation against domestic opponents and international security forces, resulting in deaths and injuries. Roadblocks that Serb hardliners established in the northern part of the country seriously restricted basic rights, including freedom of movement and movement of goods. Ethnic minorities, which included Serb, Romani, Ashkali, Egyptian, Turkish, Bosniak, Gorani, Croat, and Montenegrin communities, faced varied levels of institutional and societal discrimination, in areas such as employment, education, social services, language use, freedom of movement, IDPs right to return, and other basic rights. Members of the Romani, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities were subject to pervasive social and economic discrimination; often lacked access to basic hygiene, medical care, and education; and were heavily dependent on humanitarian aid for survival.

Dr Ibrahim Rugova was the first elected president of the Republic of Kosovo. Dr. Ibrahim Rugova was elected President of the Republic of Kosovo in the first multi-party elections for the Assembly of Kosovo, held on 24 May 1992. Following that, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, was reelected the President of the Republic of Kosovo in the elections held in March 1998. Ridiculed by young Albanians for his opposition to the 1998 insurrection against Serbian rule, Mr. Rugova staged an electoral comeback to twice defeat political parties linked to the Kosovo Liberation Army, the militant group that took up arms against Serbia, and later entered the political fray. The Democratic League of Kosovo (DLK) under the leadership of Dr. Ibrahim Rugova also won the majority of votes in the first local elections in Kosovo in October 2000, in the first national elections in 2001, and he was re-elected President in the second local elections in 2002 and in the national elections in 2004.

Kosovo under UNMIK administration held its first parliamentary elections in November 2001. After significant political wrangling, politicians agreed to establish a coalition government in March 2002, with Bajram Rexhepi (PDK) as Prime Minister and Ibrahim Rugova (LDK) as President. In the same year, the Kosovo Assembly began to function and pass its first laws. Beginning in 2003, UNMIK began transferring governing competencies to these ministries.

In the 2009 and 2010 elections, election fraud was grave, widespread, and visible. To prevent it, Kosovos elite pledged to their own citizens and to the international community that they would reform the inadequate electoral law and vet the bloated voters list. Yet nothing was done. In the 2014 election fraud was less prevalent, apparently, and certainly less visible.

The law provides citizens the ability to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot based on universal and equal suffrage. Despite undertaking to dismantle them, the Serbian government continued to operate some illegal parallel government structures in Serb-majority municipalities. Illegal parallel institutions also operated in Serbian and Gorani enclaves throughout the southern part of the country.

Party affiliation played an important role in access to government services and social and employment opportunities. Clan loyalties also played an important role in political organizations. Ethnic minorities representation in the Assembly was more than proportionate to their share in the population, but political parties representing ethnic minorities criticized majority parties for not consulting them on important issues.

Kosovos parliament toppled the country's government in a 25 March 2020 no-confidence vote, throwing the Western Balkan nation into political turmoil even as it struggles along with the rest of the world to battle the coronavirus epidemic. The parliament voted 82 in favor of the no-confidence motion, 32 against, with one abstention. The motion was called by the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) -- a partner in Prime Minister Abvin Kurtis government. Even though a member of Kosovos ruling coalition, the LDK as opposed many of the prime minister's polices, including matters regarding the fight against the coronavirus and the imposition of 100 percent tariffs on goods from neighboring Serbia. The next step was uncertain. In normal circumstances, a snap election could be held, but that was unlikely amid the battle to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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Page last modified: 26-03-2020 18:47:00 ZULU