Kosovo election commission has not certified VV, AAK and Nisma election lists – for now - Gazeta Express

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Gazeta Express

23/01/2021 1:18

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Kosovo election commission has not certified VV, AAK and Nisma election lists – for now

English

Gazeta Express

23/01/2021 1:18

Kosovo’s Central Elections Commission (CEC) has not certified the election lists of Vetevendosje, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), and Nisma to run in early general elections set to be held on 14 February after they have refused to remove candidates from their respective lists who according to the judicial council are banned to enter election race having been found guilty of a criminal charge in the last three years. The CEC decided to certify lists of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and Srpska List who replaced the names of their candidates facing legal problems. The CEC chairwoman Valdete Daka said political entities have a 24-hour deadline to appeal the decision or make the required changes.

The CEC asked last week Kosovo Judicial Council to verify the candidates and of 1,081 candidates 47 of them have been found guilty of a crime by a final court verdict. Among those affected by this process is also the Vetevendosje leader and candidate for prime minister, Albin Kurti and four other names. The Vetevendosje has refused the CEC advice to replace names insisting that Kurti should lead the election list and challenging the CEC’s interpretation saying that their leader Kurti in 2018 was handed in only a suspended sentence and based on the Criminal Code of Kosovo is eligible to run in election. The CEC has not certified the AAK’s list for the same reason. The other parties PDK, LDK and Srpska List as well as parties representing non-Serb communities have made the replacement based on the CEC recommendations and have been certified to run in upcoming election next month.  

The CEC meeting on Friday was followed with a heated debate over the procedures. The Office for Certification of candidates has proposed the Central Elections Commission (CEC) to certify all candidates for MPs as a package and to set a deadline for complaining on potential violations for a later phase citing “tight deadlines” on organizing snap election. But the CEC chairwoman, Valdete Daka, said the Certification Office recommendation is ambiguous and offers no guideline how to proceed with certification of candidates.

The meeting was followed with a heated debate of members of the CEC with each member defending the position of their respective party. The CEC chair proposed a voting on whether the election list should be approved as a package or individually. With majority of votes it was decided that all political parties who have applied should be voted separately for certification.

After voting of lists the CEC member representing Vetevendosje, Sami Kurteshi, said they disagree with this decision and they will appeal it at the Supreme Court as the last instance, adding that candidates have been barred from running in election because of the minor offences, such as traffic violations. Nisma said the CEC’s voting was politically motivated and announced appealing the decision.  

The Constitutional Court of Kosovo ruled in December 2020 that the Government of Kosovo led by Avdullah Hoti was illegal because it was voted in Parliament with a vote of an MP who was sentenced within the last three years. The Vote of MP Etem Arifi was decisive for Hoti’s Government to get 61 votes in a 120-seat Parliament of Kosovo in June 2020. The Constitution of Kosovo says that a person convicted of a criminal offence by a final court decision in the three last years cannot be a candidate for deputy or win a valid mandate in the Parliament of Kosovo. /GazetaExpress/