Kosovo to hold snap elections after court ruling

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Pristina | Kosovo was preparing to call early legislative elections on Tuesday after a decision by the Constitutional Court invalidating the election in June of the government of Avdullah Hoti, which once again plunges fragile democracy into crisis.

In its judgment published Monday evening, the Court invalidated the election of the government by Parliament, by a single majority vote, by annulling the vote of a deputy convicted of corruption.

“Considering that the government was not elected (…) in accordance with the Constitution”, the interim President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani must now “announce elections which must be held no later than 40 days after their promulgation” , said the Court in its judgment.

According to media in the former Serbian province, Ms. Osmani “should invite political parties to consultations during the day to determine the dates of early elections.”

These will be held in the midst of the new coronavirus pandemic, less than a year and a half after the last legislative elections which had consecrated the historic defeat of ex-combatants at the heart of political life since Kosovo’s independence in 2008.

Kosovo has been experiencing a series of political crises over the past dozen years, which have caused weariness among the population, as no government has been able to complete its mandate.

A first coalition government formed painfully following the legislative elections of October 2019 by Vetevendosje (VV), the left-wing nationalist party of Albin Kurti and the center-right LDK had collapsed after a few months before the appointment of a new motley coalition government led by Avdullah Hoti.

The court was seized by VV, who argued that the vote of Etem Arifi, a Roma deputy who gave Avdullah Hoti the voice he lacked to win a majority in the 120-member parliament, was sentenced in April 2018 to 15 months in prison for the embezzlement of 26,000 euros via an NGO.

MP Arifi’s vote is invalid “because a person who has received a final conviction for a criminal offense in the past three years” cannot exercise his mandate as a deputy, according to the ruling.

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