Kosovo Democratic Institute (KDI) has monitored the work of the Assembly of Kosovo during the spring session of 2018, period that has been characterized by significant lack of deputies in the voting and lack of proper organization of the work.
There are 20 out of 27 sessions held during January – July that have continued on the other day due to the large number of agenda items and the lack of quorum. The Assembly has not been efficient in organizing and managing its work.
Calling new sessions without the completion of previous sessions has affected the gathering of unfinished agenda items, and the efficiency of the work of the Assembly. Based on the Rules of Procedure, the plenary sessions begins on Thursday to continue the following day in case the session is adjourned. This practice has worked well but has been changed during the V legislature, and the same is also following the VI legislature. The scheduling of plenary sessions at the time when the commissions have announced the holding of their meetings has caused a lack of quorum on both sides, both in sessions and commissions. On the one hand, the Chairperson of the plenary session has often been forced to interrupt the session or to postpone the voting of a certain point for another day due to lack of quorum. While on the other hand, many of the committee meetings have been canceled at the last minute because the MPs were in session.
One characteristic of this session of the Assembly’s work is the absence of voting by MPs. This has led to stagnation in the function of lawmaking of the Assembly by greatly limiting the number of approved draft laws, including the failure to ratify some international agreements of special importance to citizens. It is worth pointing out that the fulfillment of the legislative agenda for 2018 so far is 22%.
The absence of deputies in the vote is not the only concern. Deputies missed not only in plenary sessions, but also in parliamentary committee meetings. By the end of June, 660 absences were registered, a practice that contradicts the obligations of MPs for participation in the of the Assembly. KDI calls on all parliamentary political entities to address and regulate this issue through the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly, and the absent deputies in the sessions, and especially in the vote. The absence of the MPs in sessions and voting is a deviation from responsibility and representation of citizens. For deputies who do not participate in the vote, penalties should be foreseen, not only by vote but also financial ones.
Although with three months delay, the Assembly in this legislature for the first time approved the work plan for 2018. The legislative agenda of the Assembly was drafted based on the legislative plan of the Government and includes 135 draft laws, 22 of which were transferred from 2017. Meanwhile, the legislative agenda has been added with 13 other draft laws that were previously not foreseen, increasing in 148 the number of draft laws scheduled for review this year. For the spring session, the Assembly has managed to pass 33 laws, while in the parliamentary commissions are 55 draft laws (38%) under review procedure, 59 draft laws or (40%) have not been prepared yet. The Assembly has continued with the practice of reviewing draft laws in an expedited procedure, where during this session, 11 of the adopted laws were reviewed in expedited procedure.
Unlike the V legislature, this legislature statistically stands better in its parliamentary oversight plan. A total of 237 parliamentary questions were filed only during the spring session. The most active parliamentary group with parliamentary questions is LVV with 79 questions, followed by LDK with 64 questions, PDK with 34 questions, PSD with 31 questions, AAK with 14, NISMA with 13 questions, LS with 1 question, 6 + with 1 question, 1 question from the deputy without parliamentary group, Slobodan Petrovic. Despite the numbers, 61 MPs have not put forward any parliamentary questions.
There was also an increase in the number of interpellations, a total of 12 interpellations for the spring session. The parliamentary group that has initiated the interpellations is LDK with 7 interpellations, with three of them initiated with the LVV parliamentary group, LVV also initiated 7 interpellations including three initiated in cooperation with the LDK parliamentary group, and PSD initiated 1 interpellation. 10 of the summoned interpellations were addressed for the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Ramush Haradinaj, an interpellation for the Minister of European Integration, Mrs. Dhurata Hoxha and an interpellation for the Minister of Health, Mr. Uran Ismaili. However, despite the large number of interpellations, no concrete effect has been achieved. Moreover, interpellations were usually called for issues that have been raised by the public, so the MPs did not preceded these issues but have reacted after the reaction of the public.
During the spring session, parliamentary commissions have invited to report the ministers of government cabinet 38 times. Commissions that have been more active in this regard are commissions that from the aspect of reviewing the draft laws have been more passive. The commissions which have had the largest number of reporting by ministers are: Commission for European Integration – 7 reports; Commission for Human Rights – 7 reports; Commission for Education – 6 reports; Commission on Foreign Affairs – 4 reports; Commission for Health – 4 reports. It is worth noting that the Assembly has often been ignored by the government, as this session is characterized by very small participation of the government cabinet in the plenary sessions of the Assembly.
The Assembly has stagnated in monitoring the implementation of laws. Throughout the spring session, the Assembly has only approved a law enforcement monitoring report. Another report was approved by the Budget and Finance Committee but has not been voted in session, while in the process of overseeing the implementation of laws by parliamentary committees are also 17 other laws.
Regarding financial transparency, the Assembly has regressed by not publishing any financial report on expenditure incurred during the period January – June of this year. This returning back to the fulfillment of transparency and good governance practices is unacceptable especially based on the fact that in previous years, reports on parliamentary expenses were published periodically, every three months.