From: Exit Staff
Kosovo Parliament Elects Ombudsman amidst Allegations of Sham Process 

The parliament has elected Mr. Naim Qelaj as Kosovo’s Ombudsperson for a 5-year term.

On Monday, 69 MPs voted in favor of Qelaj, who had remained the only candidate in the race. Today’s was the third and last vote to elect the Ombudsperson. In the two previous votes, candidates Edona Hajrullahu and Xhavit Shala were voted out.

Qelaj was deputy minister of justice in Ramush Haradinaj’s government, whose party is now part of the governing coalition.

Several civil society organizations (Kosovo Women’s Network, Group for Legal and Political Studies, Kosovo Law Institute, and Kosovar Institute for Policy Research and Development) monitoring the selection process from close had publicly denounced it in August, and demanded its cancellation on grounds of lack of transparency, violation of procedures, lack of meritocracy in selection of three candidates in the final list sent to parliament.

They said the parliamentary commission interviewing the candidates had disqualified some of the most professional ones in the country, without disclosing the methodology and evaluation criteria. Civil society monitoring teams were excluded from the process, they claimed, and a legal requirement stipulating that expert assessment provided by the British Embassy would be the basis for the selection, was evaded.