Abolishment of parallel institutionsFehim REXHEPI
TUE, 22 FEB 2000
Pristina, February 9, 2000 - It took a request in the form of the UNMIK Provisional Administrative Council's ultimatum for the Albanian politicians to seriously understand
that they must finally abolish their parallel, as they called them, state institutions of the Republic of Kosovo. The main Albanian political representatives signed a binding document according to which they should do it by January 31, this year.
A document on the establishment of UNMIK authorities, which envisages the abolishment of all parallel para-statal Kosovo structures was proclaimed on December 15, last year, after Bernard Kouchner, Chief International Administration for Kosovo, also signed it. That is how, after 10 years, the representatives of the people rather ingloriously, although it could have been done in a much more elegant way, have lost their institutions. It is quite another story whether they have brought something positive to the common people is something else, but it is certain that some politicians have used them well for their own good.
This turn of events may seem as a heavy blow to that group of Albanian politicians who, either out of fear or ignorance, never managed to face the facts - never managed to carry out the tasks they have promised to perform nor to keep promises they gave to the people.
And, they asked for the presence of the international community and that's what they've got; they asked for peace and order and they'll get them, but on condition that they abide by specific rules of procedure and operation. This is all the more necessary as ways of social, economic and political normalisation are hard to find. Having in mind that the people do not easily break old habits, their use of demagogic rhetoric might be tolerated for some time, but in performing specific duties they will have to abide by the rules and to fulfil undertaken obligations.
As it is common knowledge, representatives of the Serbian people are not participating in UNMIK authorities. Officials of the international community have tried to persuade them that the Serbian participation in these structure would be highly beneficial for them. If they still refuse, they have warned, they will expose the Serbian people to numerous risks when it comes to their position in Kosovo. UNMIK and KFOR
have offered the Serbian representatives a document on local rights in their enclaves and, naturally, strong protection. The Serbian representatives were not very satisfied with what they have been offered
and demanded more, but also promised to soon join the new common international authorities, at first for a limited time.
The Serbs do not have the same opinion even about the conditions for joining these authorities or what is to become of their parallel institutions. Although they have identical or similar names, Serbian parallel institutions do not have the same political inspiration. Enclaves in Kosovo have already demonstrated readiness to cooperate with
UNMIK, probably because they no longer rely on the opposition in Serbia.
However, a large Serbian enclave in the Northern part of Kosovo, which is in simplified terms called the Serbian part of Mitrovica, is under the direct control of Belgrade authorities and mostly refuses to cooperate with UNMIK administration. If they keep their promise, Serbian
representatives will also pass through the same process of integration with UNMIK through which the Albanian representatives have or are still passing. That means that they will face similar dilemmas, conflicts and contradictions.
On the Albanian side, Thaqi and Rugova had parallel institutions. However, they significantly differed. Thaqi's were more modest, but also
had some contents. Rugova's institutions had much more splendour on the outside, but very little content on the inside. They represent Rugova's capital, who said that "we are on the threshold of new elections", i.e. that he would like them to be held as soon as possible.
International officials here, expected greater resistance from Thaqi, especially since Rugova was, until now, absolutely disciplined in his relations with foreign diplomats. It turned out that the greatest number
of attempts at evading the agreement originated on Rugova's side. On the last day of January, which was the deadline for the abolition or disbanding of parallel institutions, a representative of Thaqi's Government said that the Government would be abolished within the specified time-limit, noting that further efforts would be exerted for including some of its segments in UNMIK structures which were in the last stage of their formation.
On that same day Rugova's Parliament of the Republic of Kosovo met. This was the first time that the Government of Prime Minister Bukoshi was present, which submitted the report on its nine-year work, including
a report on its financial operations. Nobody mentioned the "abolishment"
or "dissolution" but only suspension, on condition that mandates would be retained until the holding of new free and democratic elections. However, the discussion focused on the remaining DEM 60 million in the funds of Bukoshi's Government. The money was raised in the name of the people from Albanians in diaspora, but at the session the present delegates bluntly and without beating around the bush demanded that it should be turned into party fund since, as someone said, on the eve of new elections Rugova's Democratic Alliance of Kosovo was in a serious financial crisis.
Rugova highly commended the Parliament and Government for their work, but did not say one word about suspensions, mandates, dissolution and abolishment of these bodies nor about his own function as President of the Republic of Kosovo. The money has obviously disturbed the planned course of the session. However, it was hard for the Democratic Alliance of Kosovo and, perhaps, even Rugova himself to forgo even the reflections of splendour such state institutions represent for common people. This kind of monopoly and superstition can essentially influence
electoral preferences and results. Probably that is why two days later, without the usual procedure and explanation in what capacity he was making the statement, he simply confirmed that these institutions no longer existed without saying who brought such a decision in the first place.
Has he, thus, left the door slightly open so that he can take advantage of a favourable opportunity that could offer itself in the future? In any case, the Parliament did not adopt any decisions either that or in the next several days. The session was interrupted in the total confusion, just as its work was, with a decision to continue the debate in ten days, at the latest. This was an open violation of the agreement of December 15, signed by Rugova.
Perhaps Rugova could not imagine that the situation would get so strained that the UNMIK Provisional Administrative Council will have to terminate the work of parallel institutions and give them a 48-hour deadline to dissolve. Rugova promised to do this and fulfilled his promise 24 hours before the set time-limit. However, this is not the end
of story about institutions or funds, for that matter. There are many such gyro-accounts in the West which are kept as humanitarian accounts. As far as the Albanian institutions are concerned, they have yet to be uncovered.