Kosova Democratic Institue (KDI) held a press conference today, where the findings from the monitoring and evaluation of the work of the Assembly of Kosovo in the spring session were unveiled, which was characterized by work in conditions of health emergency and political crisis that followed.
Eugen Cakolli from KDI stated that the closure of the spring session by the Assembly, at a time when the country is in the midst of economic and health crisis and some draft laws related to pandemic management are still in process, is wrong. According to him, the activities of the Assembly during this session, especially during the period March-May, were minimal, while the performance in the exercise of legislative, oversight and representative functions has been poor. “Apart from the problems with the pandemic, the Assembly has also faced crises and political clashes, which culminated in the vote of no confidence in the ‘Kurti’ Government and the vote of the new Government, led by Avdullah Hoti. “During the period of change of governments, the Assembly has been extremely limited in the exercise of work, due to the inability to interact with a dismissed government, and in the absence of a new government”, declared Cakolli.
He further added that the work and activities of the Assembly in general, in addition to being few, were also hostage to the lack of political consensus, namely the fragility of the new parliamentary majority, which in many cases failed to secure a minimum majority for voting in the Assembly. Although after the voting of the ‘Hoti’ Government, the Assembly had returned to work at full capacity, the work dynamics had dropped significantly after some MPs were infected with coronavirus. In this regard, the Assembly, despite public pressure and constant requests, due to lack of political consensus, had not managed to make the necessary changes to the Rules of Procedure, to enable the conduct of work electronically. Regarding the agenda and the way of work of the Assembly, Cakolli stated that due to the pandemic, they had changed, since the plenary sessions were held without the presence of the media and civil society, and, with the consent of parliamentary groups in some cases the duration of discussions was also reduced. “On the other hand, some of the parliamentary committees, in some cases applied the method of holding meetings virtually,” he added.
The lack of a quorum in voting continues to be one of the main challenges of the Assembly, even during this legislature. According to Cakolli, this issue has emerged most often during the adoption of points that require a broader political consensus, such as the ratification of international agreements. “In the absence of 2/3 of the deputies’ votes, five international agreements were ratified only after the third attempt and one month after they were presented to the deputies in the session,” he said.
Cakolli stated that this session was characterized by frequent use of language and non-parliamentary behavior by the deputies during the discussions, thus hindering the progress of the work in both sessions and committee meetings, where in two cases there were interruptions in the work for due to the situations created.
However, the work of the Assembly has not passed without positive developments. According to Cakolli, there has been an improvement in the way of organizing the plenary proceedings and meetings of the Presidency based on the Rules of Procedure, as well as the relatively large number of legal initiatives of MPs. Also, positive developments have been recorded in the most rational storage and spending of public money, following the decision of the Presidency to reduce telephone costs.
At the end, statistical data were provided regarding the work and performance of the Assembly, as follows:
– A total of 24 sessions were held, five of which failed to close due to lack of quorum to give an epilogue to the remaining six points from these sessions. Out of 24 sessions held, 13 of them are plenary, 7 extraordinary and 4 solemn, while in 11 cases they continued for another day due to lack of quorum in voting.
– During the spring session, the parliamentary committees held a total of 145 meetings, of which 10 virtually, and only one public hearing was held. Virtually held meetings have been closed to the media and the public, making it impossible to monitor their agenda and decision-making.
– In addition to the work of functional committees, this session is also characterized by the work of investigative committees. During this period, three parliamentary commissions of inquiry have been formed, although the work dynamics of two of them, which have already started working, has been low, given the fact that they have a fixed term of operation of up to 6 months.
– Although the Assembly has not approved the work plan, based on the legislative plan of the government and the draft laws initiated by the deputies themselves, the legislative agenda of the Assembly includes a total of 138 draft laws. During the spring session, the Assembly managed to approve only 10 draft laws or 7% of the total number of planned draft laws. In parliamentary committees, 8 draft laws (6%) are also in reviewing procedures. Whereas, 120 draft laws (87%) have not yet been processed in the Assembly by the Government. Of the 10 laws passed, nine deal with pandemic management and economic recovery. Due to the urgency, the Assembly has reviewed in an expedited procedure five of the 10 adopted laws.
– Regarding the oversight role, a total of 71 parliamentary questions were submitted, of which 31 from the parliamentary group of LVV, followed by PDK with 23 questions, AAK with 10 questions, LDK with 6 questions and 6+ with 1 question.
– During this period, the Assembly held only one interpellation addressed to Prime Minister Hoti initiated by the parliamentary group of LVV, from which a resolution was proposed but which did not receive the support of the majority of MPs who voted.
– During this session, parliamentary debates dominated, with a total of six, three of which were not concluded due to lack of quorum to vote on resolutions or recommendations issued by those debates. On the other hand, the Assembly has adopted a total of three resolutions, including the resolution on the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, the rights of contributory pensioners and the resolution on political unity for the protection of the values of the people of Kosovo that came after the publication of indictments for war crimes from the Special Court.
– In terms of oversight by parliamentary committees, nine of the 14 parliamentary committees have invited cabinet ministers a total of 23 times for reporting.
– In this session, no activity was carried out in order to oversee the implementation of laws, despite the plans of the parliamentary committees.
– The Kosovo-Serbia dialogue was discussed in 11 of the sessions held, while, as an agenda item, the dialogue was in six of them. Out of a total of six parliamentary debates, three of them were related to dialogue. The only interpellation held was on the issue of dialogue, namely the lifting of reciprocity measures by the ‘Hoti’ Government. One of the resolutions adopted was related to dialogue. One of Prime Minister Hoti’s two reports was related to the dialogue. Two of the parliamentary questions asked by the deputies were related to the dialogue. Dialogue as a topic was raised in 18 meetings of parliamentary committees, while in one of them it was also part of the agenda. Two of the ministers’ reports to the commission also addressed the issue of dialogue.
– Regarding financial transparency, for the reporting period, the Assembly has approved and published only the financial report for the first quarter of this year. According to this report, the deputies have made only 16 trips abroad at a cost of about 12 thousand euros. This small number of trips is due to the pandemic situation that has suspended activities in the field of parliamentary diplomacy.