Thursday, March 17, 2005


At this critical time in Kosova's transition, it would be folly to
replace an experienced and successful government.

By Ardian Gjini in Pristina (BCR No 547, 16-Mar-05)

Ever since the indictment of Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and his
resignation, there have been calls for the formation of a new broad
coalition government in Kosova.

This would replace the current arrangement, yoking Haradinaj's
Alliance for the Future of Kosova, AAK, the Democratic League of
Kosovo, LDK and some smaller parties, including a Serb political

Despite initial international and local criticism, Haradinaj's
government proved effective in addressing the issues under the
competence of the Provisional Institutions of Self Government, PISG,
especially the all-important standards implementation process.

While much praise went rightly to Haradinaj himself for - as some said
- achieving more in three months than his predecessors did in years,
the government's success was not all down to Haradinaj's focused and
charismatic leadership.

A key factor was that this government was created purely out of the
will of the political parties that were involved it.

It was the first government in Kosova to rest on a political consensus
among the coalition parties and with no interference from the
international community.

Since Haradinaj resigned, there have been vigorous demands for a
return to the old pattern of all-inclusive coalition governments.

The idea enjoys strongest support - naturally - from the opposition
parties, especially the Democratic Party of Kosova, PDK, led by of
Hashim Thaqi.

It is also supported, though somewhat less vigorously, by the fourth
political party in Kosova, led by Veton Surroi.

There is speculation that the idea additionally enjoys the backing of
important elements in the international community.

The principal argument in favour of the idea is that Kosova will be
more peaceful if all parties are included in government.

In other words, there is a concern over the behaviour of the
opposition if it is left outside the government at this critical time.

That the international community might be concerned is understandable,
however if the opposition is fuelling the anxiety then you don't have
to be an academic to see this as a threat.

But while there is only one real argument to support the creation of a
new broader coalition, there are plenty of strong arguments in favour
of keeping the current arrangement.

Firstly, the ruling coalition has always made it clear that they do
not intend to sideline the opposition parties when it comes to talks
on Kosova's final status.

Then again, with little time left for the standards implementation
process, starting negotiations on forming a new government will take
up much of the precious time left.

It will take valuable time for new ministers to find their feet and
get hold of their tasks in the complex standards implementation
process. A new government might not be ready until mid-June, by when
it would be impossible to move anything forward.

Another set of arguments against the formation of a new broad
coalition concerns doubts over whether such a government would be
cohesive or viable.

A new government created as a result of internal or external pressure,
rather than as an expression of political will by the coalition
parties themselves, will not work well.

Keeping such a government together might prove far more challenging
(if not downright impossible) than keeping the opposition in its

Supporters of such a new arrangement argue that the current coalition
government cannot continue without Haradinaj's personal presence.

What they forget is that the current coalition – even without
Haradinaj - has ministers who have shown they are willing to work as a
team and move things forward.

Those ministers have gained considerable knowledge about where the
standards process stands and about the momentum created by Haradinaj.

A new government would have none of this. Before it was even up and
running, it might well run out of time when it came to doing much on
standards implementation.

Anyone aware of these facts might legitimately conclude that the
international community must have made a deal that we are all not
aware of.

Whether this is true or not, it is not the time for secret deals. The
international community has invested a lot in Kosovo – and especially
in the creation of a democratic political process, which is now alive
and getting stronger every day.

It is time to show support and respect for this same process. After
all, it is one of the most important standards that needs to be

Ardian Gjini was the former prime minister's senior political adviser
and is a senior member of the AAK.

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