Western Balkans

The time is ripe for substantial electoral reform in Kosovo

02/07/2021 - 09:41
From the blog

Op-Ed by Tomáš Szunyog, Head of the EU Office/EU Special Representative in Kosovo published in Gazeta Express and Kossev

The year 2021 is an electoral year in Kosovo as were so many years before. In February, Kosovo held early parliamentary elections, and in autumn municipal elections are due in October.

The EU deployed a team of experts to follow the electoral process during the February elections. In addition, together with other representatives of the international community posted in Kosovo, we organized a Diplomatic Watch. As a result, a comprehensive, professional report was prepared, with concrete recommendations for improvements. I presented the report of the elections experts to the President, the Speaker of the Assembly and the Chairperson of the Central Election Commission. The report complements previous recommendations prepared by the EU Election Observation Missions since 2013. Unfortunately, none of these recommendations requiring changes in the legal framework have been implemented.

I believe it is time to address these recommendations and to launch the long overdue electoral reform process.

Electoral reform is a quest that requires significant political commitment and compromise by all. I know that electoral reforms were initiated in the past but they were never concluded successfully. I like the famous Simon Sinek’s quote that ‘leadership is not about the next elections, it’s about the next generation’. I very much hope this principle would be the driving force for engaging into a comprehensive, inclusive and substantial reform that will provide Kosovo with a modern electoral framework. This is necessary to show Kosovo’s commitment to enhancing good electoral practice through a sustainable and clear process that complies with international standards and ensures integrity.

It is important to complete the work well before the next general elections. Today, it looks like a very distant perspective but there is no time to loose. The work should start already this year. Experts’ assessments indicate that both legislative changes and technical amendments require intensive work.

I am optimistic that this time the political parties, institutions and civil society will genuinely engage and be part of the positive work that will have a positive impact on the integrity of the future elections.

I encourage all political stakeholders in Kosovo to re-launch the initiative for improving and strengthening the electoral process. A very first step would be the creating of an Ad-Hoc-Committee in the Assembly.

The EU is willing and ready to be a part of the process to support Kosovo according to European standards and best practices.

FINAL REPORT: PDF icon eem_kosovo_final_report_eng.pdf

 

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