Politics in Prishtina
Prishtina (Albanian: Prishtinë; Serbian: Приштина or Priština; Turkish: Priştine) is the capital city of Kosova. In the Preliminary results of the 2011 census the population of Prishtina was numbered around 198,000 . The surface of Prishtinë is 854 km². The current Mayor is Shpend Ahmeti who was elected in 2013. The Government Building and the Parliament of the Republic of Kosovo are located in Prishtinë.
|Mayor of Pristina|
1 January 2014
|Preceded by||Isa Mustafa|
18 April 1978 |
Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia
- 1 History (post-1999)
- 2 Results of elections
- 3 The Mayor of Prishtinë
- 4 The Assembly functions
- 5 Notable things
- 6 References
Democratic League of Kosovo is the first major party in Kosovo who survived in the post-war political scene and held its composition. Formed in 1989 as the first democratic movement in Kosovo, LDK after the war was transformed into a right-wing party. Since the end of the war it has had a widespread support in Prishtina. LDK governed the capital city from 2000 until 2013. PDK established as a party in 2000 is known as a succesor of KLA thus its head figures derived from it. AAK established after the war as a coalition of five parties also is linked as a succesor of KLA and was formed after the war in 2000. AKR, founded by Behxhet Pacolli a famous Kosovan enterpreneur in 2006, had the most succsesful campaign in Prishtina in the 2009 elections, being the second party. VETËVENDOSJE!, initially a movement formed in 2004, transformed itself into a party in 2010 just before the national elections. VETËVENDOSJE! is known and declared as the only political subject in Kosovo with a left platform. In December 2013, VETËVENDOSJE! candidate Shpend Ahmeti was elected a Mayor. In the post-war political scene of Prishtina a lot of parties and individes have presented their offer to the voters but except for these five parties (LDK, PDK, AAK, AKR, VETËVENDOSJE!) they have faded from the political spectrum.
The support for LDK in Prishtina was always on high numbers. Even after the support for LDK in other parts of Kosova decreased dramatically, its electorate in Prishtina remained on stable amount. On the other hand, the support of voters for PDK in other parts of Kosovo never reflected in the capital city. PDK failed to end LDK dominance in Prishtina forcing the elections into ballotage just once, in 2007. In the 2007 elections PDK candidate Fatmir Limaj a war veteran and famous politican became the first and the last PDK candidate to enter the balotage race in which he was defeated by Isa Mustafa. In 2009 the AKR candidate , the bussinesman Vegim Gashi won 20 percent of the voters putting AKR in the political scene of Prishtinë with a solid electorate. Prishtina governed the city from 2007 to 2013, also being selected as the head of LDK in 2010. However the support of LDK in Prishtina got to a crucial point when the non satisfied voters voted massively for Shpend Ahmeti, the candidate of VETËVENDOSJE! therefore ending the LDK governance in Prishtina for the first time. A turnaround during the last elections in Prishtina was made when Prishtinë gathered around 2000 votes less in the second round, than a month earlier in the first round. Partia e Fortë was formed upon satirical premises in 2013 and its leader Visar Arifaj’s persona was based on several Kosovo political leaders. Partia e Fortë chose to deal with the issues that Kosovo was facing with humour and sarcasm. It was welcomed from the public opinion and won a seat in the City Council .
Results of elections
The national and local elections held in 2000 in Kosovo were the first democratic elections held after the war. The elections were expected with a massive support of the population and were seen as the first step of Kosovo towards democracy. OSCE was the organisor of the elections in accordance with the political factor of Kosovo. The elections took place on October and the number of participating voters was remarkably high. In Prishtina LDK came out the first party collecting 65.2% of the votes. The second party was, at that time, the newly formed PDK with 20.8%. The Mayor of Prishtina was elected Salih Gashi who held the position until 2002. Berim Ramosaj was a executive head-chief from 2000-2003.
The local 2002 elections were also organised by OSCE. The elections took place on October while the turnout in Kosovo was 54%. The voting manner was applied through the proportional system with closed-lists. 1/3 of the members of the Assembly were elected on the gender basis. In Prishtina LDK held its primate winning 54.46%. PDK had a slight increase gaining 24.97%. The new Mayor elected Ismet Beqiri at that time was 38 years old.
The planned 2006 local elections were delayed for a year in order to be organised at the same time with the national elections. The local and national elections were held in November 2007 and were the last local elections to be orgarnised by OSCE. The 2007 elections provided dramatic changes in the political scene of Kosovo although in Prishtina the political constellation remained pretty much the same. LDK came out as the first party in both rounds. In the first round LDK with Prishtinë won 36.05% of the votes while PDK candidate Fatmir Limaj collected 24.81%. The 2007 local elections were the first direct voting for the candidate elecions. Prishtinawas elected the Mayor in the ballotage defeating Fatmir Limaj and becoming the first Mayor of Prishtinë to be elected directly by the voters. The result was 58.2% against 41.8%.
The 2009 local elections were held on November. The elections were announced after the President of Kosovo Fatmir Sejdiu accorded with the political subjects after talks with their leaders. The 2009 elections were the first elections held after Kosovo declared independence on 17 of February 2008. The elections were the first elections organised by the institutions of the country however there was help of several international organisations. In Prishtina, LDK the dominance who now had won the capital city for the fourth consecutive time. Mustafa was re-elected as a Mayor winning in the first round with 57.22%. His second rival, Vegim Gashi of AKR collected 22.29% .
The 2013 local elections were the first elections organised afer Kosovo ended Supervised Independence on 2012. The outcome brought dramatic changes of Mayors in most of the municipalies of Kosovo. In Prishtina the first round of the elections held in November saw Prishtinaof LDK as the first with 42.75%. Shpend Ahmeti of VETËVENDOSJE! held the second place with 31.89%. The second round however saw a U-turn in the voting results with Ahmeti being elected as a Mayor hence becoming the first non-LDK Mayor in Prishtinë after the war. Ahmeti defeated Mustafa with 51% to 49% and executed his oath in early 2014. During the oath he brought the national flag of Albania .
Competences and responsibilities of the Mayor
The Mayor, as mentioned in the Statue of the Municipality approved in 2010 represents the city and acts on its behalf, heads the executive and administration as well is responsible for the financial use. As of 2013 the budget of Prishtina was approved 63 million. The Mayor of Prishtina is also rensponsible for organizing the policies of the municipality. He has the right to appoint the directors of his cabinet. The Mayor cabinet is composed by 9 directors plus the vice-Mayor. In his oath the Mayor has to promise to the citizens that he will serve without any differences , with loyalty, honesty and according to the law. The Mayor’s mandate lasts four years and he has the right to recandidate.
The Mayor as an urban figure
Prishtina being the capital city influences the politics, culture and economic aspects of the whole country. The Mayor of Prishtina is one of the most influental political figures in Kosova as well as serving as an urban figure through the youth of the city. Kosovo is known for having the youngest population in Europe with an average of 25 years old . While Ismet Beqiri was a Mayor he played a role by singing a short verse with the group “Aurora” in 2004 . Prishtinë the Mayor of Prishtinë for two mandates, during his second mandate in 2010 rose to head of LDK, the second largest party in Kosova . Mustafa also established himself as one of the leaders of the country in the opposition ranks and did so through his position as a Mayor. However Mustafa has been often critisied for his distance from the voters especially for the lack of communication with the youth . In the last elections in 2013 Shpend Ahmeti, a proffesor of Economics, gathered most of the youth of Prishtinë around his campaign also due to the fact that he was nearly 30 years younger than Isa Mustafa. His team and staff consisted of young people and Ahmeti delivered a more modern public image, presenting himself closer to the voters. A lot of young people chose to volunter in his meetings therefore his campaign in general represented a novelty in politics of Repubilc of Kosovo . Ahmeti promised to go to work by public transport in order to save money from the use of expensive official cars and has been doing so until now .
The Assembly functions
The election form
The 2000 and 2002 elections were organised with a different voting system. In the 2000 elections the voting was framed through open-lists. The parties chose the candidates for their list. The City Council had the right to vote and elect the Mayor. The first Mayor of Prishtinë was Salih Gashi, a member of LDK. Gashi was elected after gaining the majority of votes of the members of the City Council. The 2002 elections were made through closed-lists. It was the last time the Mayor was chosen from the the City Council. As mentioned, Ismet Beqiri was chosen as a Mayor, a position he held until 2007. In the elections of 2007, Prishtinëbecame the first Mayor to be elected through direct-voting system. The City Council competences have been constantly alterning and at the same time decreasing. The juridical framework for local and national elections in Kosovo changed constantly for over a decade. Until 2009 the elections, both national and local, were organised by OSCE. Each election process has been observed by many international organisations and has been followed by raports with the welfare of the elections.
Current composition of the City Council
The City Council of Prishtinë consists of 51 members. 1/3 of the members have to be women according to 2010 approved Statue of the Municipality. The City Council has seen LDK having most members in all elections held until now. In the 2013 elections, although LDK candidate [Mustafa] lost to Shpend Ahmeti, LDK won 18 seats in Assembly with VETËVENDOSJE! with 10. PDK followed with 8 seats and AKR with 4. Current head of the City Council is Halim Halimi from LDK .
Ahmeti was faced with critisism on the first days in the office after he wrote a letter to The Ministry of Local Government Administration regarding an answer about the use of state symbols. In VETËVENDOSJE! movement exists a strong disapproval for Kosovo’s symbols and even form of stateship. VETËVENDOSJE! considers these symbols as non-legitimate hence it considers the symbols of Republic of Albania as the only ones representative . The Ministry of Local Government Administration returned the letter pointing that the law clarifies the way the symbols should be used in public institutions . Ahmeti decided to keep the Kosovan flag but also added the Albanian flag in the his office . One of the main issues in Prishtinë is the lack of useful water which is manifested with long and heavy reductation. Ahmeti has promised to solve the problem within two years. The Prishtinë Municipality also faces problem with sttufed administration, public transport, illegal construction, nepotism and clientelism.