By Linda Karadaku
Kosovo’s new president, Behgjet Pacolli, may be running into the same quagmire that unseated his predecessor, with opponents charging that his election violated the constitution.
The 59-year-old businessman, considered one of the wealthiest individuals in Kosovo, has triggered controversy in some circles because of his connections to Russia, some of the former Soviet Republics and Libya.
Now two major Kosovo opposition parties — the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) — have asked the constitutional court to investigate the circumstances under which he was voted in as head of state.
At issue is an interruption in the parliamentary session that ultimately resulted in his election. After the first two voting rounds in which Pacolli did not gain enough votes, the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) asked for a pause.
Following that, Pacolli was elected with 62 votes during a third round of voting.
The LDK’s Vjosa Osmani says the investigation request was signed by 34 out of 120 MPs.
“It’s up to the Constitutional Court now to decide; the deputies who initiated this case will respect the Court’s decision,” Osmani told the media. “We think Article 86 of the constitution was breached and on that basis, we argue.”
The opposition also claims that Pacolli himself breached the constitution by voting for the new government after he was elected president.
The new speaker of parliament, Jakup Krasniqi, told the local network KTV that Pacolli was not elected by the citizens, but rather “with votes under pressure”.
Pacolli refused to comment.
“I am not competent [to comment] on the decisions of the Constitutional Court … Let’s leave it to the Court to decide if the constitution was breached or not, and not intervene,” local media reports quoted him as saying.
International Civilian Representative in Kosovo Pieter Feith told the media that in his opinion, the constitution was not breached. But a final judgment, he added, is up to the constitutional court.
Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has declined to comment.