Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Kosovo's ruling coalition agrees on composition of new government

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - Kosovo's ruling coalition agreed Wednesday on the composition of the new government, but made minor changes following a political reshuffle.

The Democratic League of Kosovo, the main party in the coalition government, decided to sack the province's deputy prime minister but keep most cabinet members in the same positions, said Eqrem Kryeziu, the party's vice president.

Adem Salihaj will be replaced by Lutfi Haziri, who will also continue to serve as the minister for local government, Kryeziu said.

The party also nominated Fatmir Rexhepi, a member of parliament, to lead the Interior Ministry for the first time.

The Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, the much smaller coalition partner, will also keep its ministers after party member Bajram Kosumi resigned from the premiership last week.

The reshuffle came after the government was criticized for a lackluster performance.

Kosovo's parliament is to convene Friday to decide whether Lt. Gen. Agim Ceku becomes the province's next prime minister. Ceku, a former ethnic Albanian guerrilla commander and currently the head of civilian Kosovo Protection Corps, said he agreed to the combination.

Kosovo's ruling coalition holds a slim majority in the province's assembly, indicating that Ceku's appointment will be approved.

Ceku, 44, sided with Croatia's army in the fight against Serbs during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and commanded the Kosovo Liberation Army, the guerrilla group which battled Serb forces.

Serbian officials accuse him of war crimes and have issued an arrest warrant for him, but he denies any wrongdoing.

Kosovo has been a de-facto U.N. protectorate since the end of the 1998-99 war there between ethnic Albanian separatists and Serb forces. Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority insist on full independence, but Serbs want Belgrade to retain control.

1 comment:

Friedrich Haas said...

No change ... and it looks like that LDK and AAK wont give too much power to CEKU by giving him the chance to start with personal selected cabinett. Also several new powers of LDK prefer to fortify their position inside the pary instead of taking the chair of a minister in times of change. And it's easier to blame the ministers in charge for probably failings in politics and compromises in status talks. In the areas political culture a strong position in local party structures is still much more attractive than taking lead in state structures. But a real change now was not to expect. We should have learned from other transition countries that change in political culture needs time. The only problem is - does Kosovo have time? Is Kosovo's young and unemployed generation still willing to wait for the result of tactical movements of the political leadership? Wasn't Vetevendosje's WANTED poster a first signal - if we like it or not -, that time is running out?