Pristina, 4 September 2019 – Westminster Foundation for Democracy in partnership with Kosovo Law Institute (KLI), on Wednesday held a roundtable discussion me the topic “What candidates are offered by political parties for the elections!”
The purpose of the roundtable was to raise the awareness of citizens and political parties about the exclusion of persons under investigation, indictment or court decisions as candidates for MP’s in this year’s elections.
Fitim Mulolli, WFD Director in Kosovo, stated that the decriminalisation of political parties must occur for numerous reasons, starting from the fact that political parties are representatives of the will of the people and bearers of the social processes of any democratic country and therefore the actions of politicians at every level must be dignified, with integrity and accountability, as according to him the presence of persons who have problems with the law reflects negatively on the whole of Kosovo and its citizens. Furthermore, according to Mulolli, when persons with corrupt or criminal backgrounds take decision-making positions, they manage large amounts of funds raised from Kosovo citizens ‘taxes, which poses a high risk of misusing citizens’ taxes. Thirdly, Mulolli cited international or European integration and foreign relations, for which he said that the presence of persons whom have problems with the law in top political institutions such as the Assembly and the Cabinet give a very bad image of Kosovo internationally.
Betim Musliu, KLI Senior Researcher, stated that the trend of candidates that have had problems with the law has increased during these last few years.
“The trend of these candidates who have had problems with the law in the 2010 elections has degraded and increased steadily, both in the 2014 elections and in 2017, where a large number of them have managed to be part of the lists of political parties and the same have been voted by the citizens and elected members of the Assembly of Kosovo. Degradation has continued in the executive branch where the selection of ministers and deputy ministers has also been made by people who have had indictments and convictions”, stated Musliu.
According to Musliu, the justice system in Kosovo still has not adhered to the needs of the citizens to conduct judgements based on evidence and convictions, rather than specific agendas.
According to WFD and KLI, there are three key ways in solving this problem which are known internationally: through legal framework, through institutional exclusion and through regulation and policies for political parties.
Roundtable participants agreed that Kosovo needs rule of law and good governance; however the same is not achieved with the proposal of candidates that have problems with the law, with special emphasis of those that have to do with organised crime, corruption and money laundering.
In this regard, they have called on political parties not to include persons with problems with the law in the lists of candidates for elections.