Sunday, October 31, 2004

Coalition Talks in Kosova - LDK with AAK? Rift Between Thaqi and Rexhepi over the post of Prime-Minister

Prishtina [Pristina], 28 October: On Thursday [28 October], the Democratic League of Kosova [Kosovo] [LDK] and the Alliance for the Future of Kosova [AAK] discussed a possible two-party coalition, but they did not succeed in reaching a concrete agreement. Bujar Dugolli, one of the two AAK officials assigned by his party to negotiate possible coalitions with other parties, confirmed that the talks had taken place, but said no agreement was reached. "There is still interest in two-party and three-party coalitions," he said. The LDK also confirmed that the meeting with the AAK was held, but, as its officials put it, "There is nothing official yet." LDK spokesperson Lulzim Zeneli reiterated that everything will be known after the publication of the final results of the 23 October vote. It has been learned that the LDK made a concrete offer of a coalition to the AAK, but the latter replied through a letter in which it listed a number of demands that need to be met if the AAK's involvement in a coalition is desired. Reportedly, one of the key conditions is that the AAK should be given the post of prime minister. Bujar Dugolli said that, besides the LDK, the AAK has also had meetings with other parties, including the PDK [Democratic Party of Kosovo] and the ORA Citizens' List. "There are offers, but nothing is final. The AAK, just like other parties, will wait for the final results of the vote, and I believe serious talks will start next week" Dugolli said.
Meanwhile, the first rifts have emerged in the PDK regarding the share of senior posts if this party becomes part of the government coalition. It has been reported that during a meeting of senior officials of the PDK, it was decided that [PDK chairman] Hashim Thaci would be the only candidate of this party for the post of prime minister if this post is given to the PDK. Likewise, it was decided at that meeting that if the others do not accept the PDK decision about Thaci being prime minister, then the PDK would go into opposition. Sources from this party say that the only person who opposed this PDK variant was the incumbent Kosova prime minister, Bajram Rexhepi, and that he has left Kosova and gone to Turkey as a result of the disagreements in his party. On the other hand, the PDK has denied that a formal decision has been reached about party leader Hashim Thaci being nominated for the post of prime minister.
"The PDK presidency, even though it has been meeting every day, has not yet reached a formal decision on who from our party will be the candidate for prime minister or any other posts," PDK spokeswoman Vlora Citaku said.
She also denied that there had been internal disagreements in the PDK and that Bajram Rexhepi had walked out of a meeting and gone to Turkey as a sign of disapproval of Thaci's candidacy for the post of head of the country's executive body.

According to Citaku, Rexhepi has gone to Turkey to attend the opening of a swimming tournament, and that he had received the invitation in the summer while on a vacation there.
Government spokeswoman Mimoza Kusari-Lila likewise confirmed that Prime Minister Rexhepi had received an invitation for the opening ceremony of a swimming tournament. According to her, the tournament will be held in Antalya, and Rexhepi was invited by the mayor of that town whom he met during his summer vacation.

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