Although the Assembly of Kosovo has improved the parameters of fulfilling the legislative agenda, the lack of quorum, too low oversight of law enforcement, regress in financial transparency, low numbers of public hearings, and inadequate organization of work are some of the obvious shortcomings which have followed his work over the past year.
These findings were announced today during the presentation of the report on monitoring the work of the Assembly for 2018, published by the Kosovo Democratic Institute, in a discussion with the deputies of the Kosovo Assembly: Armend Zemaj (LDK), Elmi Reçica (PDK ), Albulena Haxhiu (LVV), Besa Baftiu (PSD), Bilall Sherifi (NISMA) and representatives of the institutions and civil society.
On this occasion, Agnesa Haxhiu from KDI has pointed out that 42 sessions of the Assembly and 437 meetings of parliamentary committees have enabled the highest legislature body, for the first time in many years to be considered as more productive in fulfilling the legislative agenda, from 36% in 2015/2016 to 42% in 2018. However, the 75 adopted laws and 16 legal initiatives by the Assembly itself have not been able to cover the basic problems faced by this institution. “The lack of quorum has been a serious obstacle to making decisions in the sessions. So many unfinished topics on the agenda from various sessions have been accumulated and put on the agenda of a single session, a phenomenon that has been repeated throughout the year, “she explained during the presentation of this report.
Haxhiu emphasized that the adoption of laws has often been followed by violations of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly. “Although the Regulation stipulates that the amendments are voted as special, in some cases all amendments have been voted in the group. Also, the Assembly continued this year with the practice of reviewing the draft laws in an expedited procedure “, completed Haxhiu.
During 2018, she said that there was a noticeable discrepancy between the adoption of laws and the oversight of their implementation. For a whole year, the Assembly has only issued a report that talks about the implementation of a law and has organized only 23 public hearings.
Oversight over the executive in the sessions was more visible to the public. In the 275 parliamentary questions submitted by MPs, the government cabinet responded to 61% of them.
“Transparency in the internal governance of the Assembly, especially in the financial aspect, has regressed from previous years. From an example institution of financial transparency, the Assembly has become an example of practicing delays in publishing quarterly financial reports. The latest quarterly report published for the period July-September 2018, shows 300 trips abroad at a cost of € 239,039.65, “added Haxhiu.
This report recommends that the Assembly should be more involved in monitoring the implementation of laws and systematic oversight of the government and also be an example to all other institutions in terms of financial transparency.
The issue of low numbers of public hearings should be addressed and improved in order to provide citizens and interest groups with input and ownership in the lawmaking process. This would also enable better enforcement of the laws in practice.
The report recommends that the Assembly should co-ordinate with the Government in drafting the legislative agenda so that it is not very ambitious and beyond the capacities of both institutions.
The issue of deputies’ absences should be regulated in the new Assembly Regulation, which does not foresee any punitive measures for MPs who do not participate in the proceedings of the Assembly, and offers the possibility of non-participation in work for six months in a row .
Meanwhile, the MPs in this discussion stressed the necessity for the findings and recommendations of this report to be addressed by the Assembly, especially the issue of proper organization of work and increase of financial transparency.
This roundtable was organized within the framework of the two-year project ‘Increasing participation, transparency and accountability in Kosovo’ funded by UNDEF.