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news 09 Sep 17

Kosovo MPs to Vote on Haradinaj's 'Huge' Cabinet

Kosovo MPs on Saturday will vote on Ramush Haradinaj’s new government – amid complaints that he has made too many ministerial posts, in order to satisfy his various  coalition partners' appetites.

Perparim Isufi
BIRN
Pristina
 
Kosovo/Kosovo parliament in session. Photo: AP/Visar K.

Kosovo's parliament will assemble on Saturday in Pristina to vote on Ramush Haradinaj's new government amid complaints about the number of planned ministerial posts.

Haradinaj told the media on Friday that he was not yet in possession of full list of the names of the new cabinet.

“We are making preparations for tomorrow’s session … However there are some difficulties as not all [partners] have come up with names,” Haradinaj said.

His biggest coalition partner, Kadri Veseli’s Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, has reportedly discussed the names of its future ministers – but has not decided them all yet.

“We have not decided yet … We didn’t talk about the names but about what the future government should do,” PDK Vice-President Enver Hoxhaj said on Friday.

Under the initial coalition agreement, while Haradinaj, from the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, becomes the new Prime Minister, the PDK will have the post of Deputy Prime Minister plus six ministries.

Haradinaj's AAK will have three other ministries. A junior partner in the coalition, Fatmir Limaj's NISMA, will have the post of Deputy Prime Minister and three other ministries.

The main Serbian party in Kosovo, Srpska Lista, will have three ministries while the non-Albanian and non-Serbian communities will have another two.

As the consultations among coalition partners reach the final phase, media have reported that the new government will have a grand total of five deputy prime ministers, 21 ministers and around 50 deputy ministers, making it the bulkiest ever in Kosovo's history.

Petrit Zogaj, director of the Pristina-based think tank FOL [Speak Up], told BIRN that the problem was the coalition partners' “endless appetite” for ministries, plus the lack of a law on government regulating such matters.

Zogaj said a Law on Government would specify the number of cabinet members and their competencies, among other matters.

According to him, the huge number of ministers in the cabinet will create a “communication gap”, making decision-making difficult and ineffective.

“The Haradinaj government ... looks more like a shareholder company, in which each shareholder seeks to benefit to the maximum within the enterprise, rather than a unified body in which the public interest dominates its work,” Zogaj said.

Zogaj said the number of ministries will making budgeting the costs for these ministries hard as well.

Lavdim Hamidi, chief editor of the Pristina newspaper “Zeri”, told BIRN that Kosovo’s “giant government” was mainly a consequence of the number of coalition partners, which “creates pressure to push their party colleagues into senior government positions.

“The Kosovo government could function with only 13 ministries, which would save around 5 million euros from budget within a four-year term,” Hamidi asserted.

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