By Die Morina
The reported departure of at least one minister is seen as a sign of major rifts in the ruling coalition, in which several powerful factions are fighting for domination.
The resignation offered by one Kosovo minister and possible dismissal of two more, all considered close to President Hashim Thaci, has fuelled speculation about serious rifts in the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, and its relations with Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj.
Analysts believe that the announced reshuffle has revealed that matters are seriously adrift behind the scenes in the ruling PDK.
Albert Krasniqi, from Kosovo Democratic Institute, KDI, a think tank, said the resignation offered on Monday by Justice Minister Abelard Tahiri – a man seen as close to Thaci – was undoubtedly coordinated with the President.
“The goals are not clear, but it might be an attempt to blackmail the government in order to get it to support the President in his intentions, both for dialogue [with Serbia] and for other purposes,” Krasniqi told BIRN.
He said another option was that it was all coordinated between Thaci and Kadri Veseli, the PDK leader and parliamentary speaker, against Haradinaj.
“While the third option may be a destabilisation effort by Thaci, as ministerial resignations and an eventual no-confidence motion against the government … would lead to blocked institutions – with the President remaining the only one with a legitimate mandate,” Krasniqi said.
PDK leader Veseli said on Tuesday that his party would not accept Tahiri’s resignation as Justice Minister, although he already offered it to Haradinaj.
“Tahiri is one of the government’s most successful ministers, and he is making major reforms in the justice system,” he said on TV on Tuesday.
“It is true that there have been challenges and he has offered a readiness to resign, but he has not resigned and continues to be a minister and will continue to carry out the reforms initiated in the justice system,” Veseli told a debate in Klan Kosova TV.
Tahiri confirmed the news through a status on his Facebook account, saying the key to his political and institutional engagement had always been “to strengthen the rule of law and to contribute to a state and modern society guided by the brightest principles of democracy and the equal opportunities and opportunities for all”.
Fresh problems within the ruling PDK surfaced after President Thaci made a surprise visit to the Ujmani/Gazivode lake in northern Kosovo on September 29.
Ministers Tahiri and Bedri Hamza were part of the unannounced visit to the lake, the same time when the opposition Vetevendosje party was protesting against Thaci.
Reportedly, the PDK ministers did not inform their party boss, Veseli, about their visit.
Following the Tahiri case, media reports have suggested that Finance Minister Bedri Hamza and Innovation Minister Besim Beqaj would also resign.
However, Veseli stated that none of his party’s ministers was resigning.
Veseli was elected PDK leader in May 2016, after Thaci who founded the party in 1999, became President of Kosovo and had to leave the post.
Another Pristina-based political analyst, Albinot Maloku, said that when Tahiri announced he was leaving the government, “a meeting was held in a hurry where the PDK leader [Veseli] said that individuals do not decide on who will or will not be a minister –provoking him to show his authority”.
Maloku said that Thaci had tried to use Tahiri “to threaten the government with ministers quitting and frighten them – shaking the position of PM Haradinaj, because of Haradinaj’s [hostile] stance on the latest border correction ideas [with Serbia] proclaimed by President Thaci”.