Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has admitted that he convinced MP Haxhi Shala to change his decision to vote against the new Hoti Government to a vote in favor.
MP Shala’s vote in favor was crucial to the formation of the new government, which got the required minimum of 61 votes in the 120-seat parliament.
Kosovo’s Constitution mandates the President represent the unity of the people and stay above the interests of political parties. Yet, despite seemingly violating the first constitutional stipulation for the post he holds, Thaci spoke of the event in an interview last night as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
Shala had announced his vote against on June 1, two days before the voting took place, due to internal disagreements with his NISMA party leadership.
President Thaci personally visited MP Shala’s home a few hours before the parliamentary vote, together with former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj. The next day Shala announced that Thaci and Haradinaj had changed his mind and he was going to vote for the government, which he did.
“I have been knowing Shala for a long time and I know many other MPs. I have friends everywhere,” Thaci stated in an interview on T7 TV on Wednesday.
“It just happened, out of sheer coincidence, to get together with Mr Haradinaj and my friend Haxhi Shala,” the President continued to explain the circumstances of their meeting at Shala’s home.
“We had a totally free discussion. A discussion of free will. The topic came up by coincidence and, out of respect for the President and the former Prime Minister Haradinaj, he decided to change his mind,” Thaci explained.
“Whoever asks for my opinion, I demand respect for institutions,” the President of the Republic of Kosovo concluded.
Kosovo’s largest party, Vetevendosje (LVV) of former Prime Minister Albin Kurti, have been accusing President Thaci of overstepping his constitutional authority at the detriment of the rule of law, power balance, and democracy in the country.
They claim that Thaci has been acting to advance his political interests by influencing party politics in the country, by being instrumental in the toppling of the Kurti Government, sidestepping the largest party in forming the new government, avoiding new elections in violating of the Constitution, having captured the Constitutional Court which approved his decision to have the Hoti Government installed.
President Thaci has denied all allegations and has called for respect for institutions.