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Interview 22 Dec 17

Kosovo PM Reflects on First 100 Days

Looking back on his 100 days in office, Kosovo’s new Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, admits he is far from solving the country's huge problems – but says at least he has 'scanned the situation' and knows what they are.

Die Morina
BIRN
Pristina
Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj. Photo: PM's office

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, recalled his first 100 days in office as busy in an interview for the BIRN Kosovo TV show “Jeta ne Kosove” on Thursday evening.

One of his first acts as Prime Minister was to allocate funds for the pensions of sexual victims of the independence war - for years a neglected and stigmatised category of people.

“It is a big honour that sexual victims of the war are now a legal category,” he said adding that families should stay close to these victims.

“We all know that war has a price, someone died and someone was wounded; if we have someone in family with such a wound, the family should stay close to this person,” he remarked.

Asked if, as a former fighter in the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLAS, he thought such victims are a source of shame for the families, or heroines, Haradinaj said society should not forget them. “Those are our people, our families that have been wounded during the war, and it wouldn’t be fair if the family did not support the victim.”

Haradinaj clarified that every war victim of sexual violence should access their pensions immediately. “They can have it today, if they apply today”, he said.

Commenting on the stalled border demarcation deal with Montenegro, Haradinaj, who was a fierce critic of the deal while in opposition, said that he had delegated the matter to parliament. If MPs did not ratify the agreement, another immediate solution should be found.

“I have made it possible for parliament to take the decision. As soon as parliament decides, if it fails in this concrete matter, a solution will immediately be found; another option should be found,” he said.

Since taking office, Haradinaj has been criticized most for appointing a huge number of deputy ministers, making his government the largest in Kosovo’s post-war, independent history.

Asked about them by the anchor of “Jeta ne Kosove”, Jeta Xharra, Haradinaj appeared to know by name only a few of them.

“The Kosovo administration contains 88,000 people ... some of which are these 64 or ... 70 [deputy ministers], and each of them has a different job to do,” he said, admitting that the number was huge.

During the interview, Haradinaj did not recall that he dismissed the board of Transmission System and and Market Operator, KOSTT, which is not appointed by the government but parliament. “Did I dismiss that? I don’t remember this at all,” he answered.

Asked why he took the decision to forgive the 20 million euro debts of producers of bottled water, Haradinaj answered that “they are the producers of our country, Kosovo’s water, Kosovo’s employees for Kosovo’s people”.

On education, Haradinaj admitted that there is a lot to be done. “Most people in the education system were not that good as students, so those who give knowledge today were not the best on learning, which is a strange matter,” Haradinaj stated.

He added that a big problem in this sector remains political appointments, mentioning school directors, that, according to him, are being amnestied despite not working because they have the support of a political party.

“I can’t say I am proud and that over these 100 days we have changed the situation … what is best is the fact that we have scanned where the problems are, why we are in this situation,” he said.

Haradinaj was elected Prime Minister by a narrow majority – with 61 of the 120 votes in parliament on September 9, after a political deadlock that had persisted since inconclusive general elections on June 11.

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