Prishtina, November 23, 2017/
Letter to the International Election Monitoring Missions in the Republic of Kosova
To whom it may concern:
Lëvizja VETËVENDOSJE! (Movement for Self-determination) in the Republic of Kosova is appalled by the unprecedented and illegal decision made today by the Election Complaint and Appeal Panel (hereinafter the “Panel”) of the Republic of Kosova to send to a full recount the voting for the second round of local elections 2017 in the Municipalities of Prishtina and Prizren, and by today’s confirmation of this decision by the Central Election Commission (CEC). The two decisions made today by the Panel and the CEC are a direct blow to all democratic principles and procedures, and they were made in total infringement of the law. It is no coincidence at all that such a decision was taken by the Panel and the CEC for the only two large municipalities of the Republic of Kosova where the Movement for Selfdetermination is ahead in the race for the Mayor’s Office according to all the information made public regarding the preliminary results. Such a decision was taken 4 days after Election Day, during a time when the CEC of Kosova was supposed to finish the counting of the conditional voting and of the votes from the Diaspora for these two municipalities – a process that was being purposely delayed by the CEC, in spite of the repeated official and public requests of the Movement for Self-determination to proceed with the counting of these last votes and to publish the official preliminary results. Please find below five main arguments that testify to the major manipulation, and the infringement of the law, that is currently undergoing in regards to the election process and final voting results in the Republic of Kosova in the Municipalities of Prishtina and Prizren, the two largest of the country: 1. The decision of the Panel for a full recount of the votes in Prishtina and Prizren, before completion of the counting of all votes casted – conditional voting and the votes from the Diaspora – is in contradiction to many other previous decisions of this Panel in other election processes in the Republic of Kosova. There are at least three previous decisions made by this Panel which refute complaints and demands for a recount before the full count of all votes casted (including conditional voting and votes from the Diaspora): i. Decision No. 339/2017 of the Election Complaint and Appeal Panel, June 14, 2017, refutes the request of the LDK-AKR coalition for a recount in two voting centers in Peja and Prishtina, before the completion of the process of the counting of all votes casted and the official publication of the preliminary results by the CEC. This decision was signed by Mr. Hasan Shala, the same person who has singed today’s decision of the Panel for a full recount in Prishtina and Prizren before the completion of the vote counting process.
- Decision No. 354/2017 of the Election Complaint and Appeal Panel, June 14, 2017, refutes the request of LDK for a recount in the Municipality of Besiana (Podujeva), before the completion of the vote counting process of all votes casted and the official publication of the preliminary results by the CEC. This decision was also signed by Mr. Hasan Shala, the same person who has singed today’s decision of the Panel for a full recount in Prishtina and Prizren before the completion of the vote counting process.
iii. Decision No. 355/2017 of the Election Complaint and Appeal Panel, June 15, 2017, refuting the request of Mr. Emin Hysenaj from the Municipality of Peja, for a recount in an Election Center in Peja before the completion of the vote countrin process of all votes casted and the official publication of the preliminary results by the CEC.
- The arguments raised within the formulation of today’s decision of the Panel, in pages 3 & 4 of the Panel’s decision, are inconsistent, ungrounded, and untrue: i. The election commissioners and observers of the other political parties running in the second round of local elections in Prishtina and in Prizren have signed all the supporting documents of the election process, as well as their declarations and accompanying documents of all the ballot boxes, without noting any irregularities. In the Municipality of Prishtina and Prizren there were no complaints filed by any of the commissioners or observers of the other political parties on Election Day. All the ballot boxes in the Count and Result Center for the Municipality of Prishtina and Prizren have now passed the auditing by the CEC, and none of the ballot boxes have been placed in quarantine. Thereby, the Panel’s argument in today’s decision that there are many declarations made by observers testifying to the irregularity of this election process is completely untrue. ii. The Panel’s argument that states that there is a “large number of invalid and empty ballot sheets” is ungrounded. The total percentage of invalid and empty ballot sheets is 1.8%, which is the lowest percentage level ever of invalid and empty ballot sheets in the history of elections in the Republic of Kosova. iii. The Panel’s argument that the need for e full recount in Prishtina and Prizren is also due to the “close election result” – although such a result is not final as not all votes casted have been counted – is also in contradiction to the current situation in the Municipality of Sharr (Dragash), where there is a very small margin of difference in votes between the two candidates running in the second round, while no decision was made for a recount. 3. International and local observers have stated in their preliminary election reports that in the Municipality of Prishtina and Prizren there were no irregularities noted during Election Day, or during the vote counting process, that would justify the decision for a full recount of the votes in these two municipalities. The Preliminary Statement released on Nov. 21, 2017, by the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) in the Republic of Kosova reported that Election Day was “calm and regular” and that the process of voting and the counting of votes was implemented in a “transparent and efficient manner”, and no irregularities were noted in the Municipality of Prishtina and Prizren that would justify the request for a full recount. The statement of the EU EOM is supported also by the report of the “Operations Room”, comprised of the members of the CEC, the Kosova Police and the Prosecutor’s Office, presented on Nov. 19, 2017, at 19:19 hours, after the closing of the voting process. The report of the “Operations Room” also presents no irregularities that would justify a full recount in these two municipalities. Furthermore, the coalition of civil society NGOs, knows as “Demokracia në Veprim” (Democracy in Action) also reported no irregularities in the Municipality of Prishtina and Prizren on Election Day and during the vote counting process that would justify the request or the decision for a full recount in Prishtina and Prizren.
- Kosova has a captured state apparatus by the regime installed by the Democratic Party of Kosova (PDK). The internationally renowned American NGO “Freedom House” has categorized Kosova for the past two years in a row as a semi-consolidated authoritarian regime, and it is not the only international actor making such an evaluation. This categorization was supported also by the several telephone conversations between the main exponents of PDK, which were made public last year in the media in the scandal that is known as the “Pronto Klan”. In one of these telephone conversations, made public by the media (http://www.insajderi.com/hulumtime/njeriuafert-pdk-ne-ne-krye-te-gjykates-se-apelit/), the public learned how the current President of the Election Complaint and Appeal Panel, Mr. Hasan Shala, was appointed as head of the Court of Appeals. Mr. Hasan Shala is the same person who has signed today’s decision of the Panel for a full recounting of the votes in Prishtina and Prizren. In the telephone conversation made public last year, Mr. Adem Grabovci, former Head of the Parliamentary Group of PDK, is clearly heard directly interfering in the justice system and pushing for the appointment of Mr. Hasan Shala, a PDK supporter, as Head of the Court of Appeals. Today’s decision of the Panel, signed by Mr. Hasan Shala, is shaken from the ground also due to the illegal manner in which Mr. Hasan Shala was appointed in public office inside the Justice System of Kosova.
- The Central Election Commission (CEC) of the Republic of Kosova confirmed today the decision made by the Panel on this same day, for a full recount of the votes in Prishtina and Prizren, by imposing an unjust and illegal decision through the majority of the member parties that comprise the CEC, and in total breach of all legal procedures. Today’s decision of the Panel states on its last page that this decision cannot enter into effect without allowing a 24 hour period for possible complaints addressed to the Supreme Court of Kosova against this decision. However, in a flagrantly illegal act, the CEC proceeded today to enter into full effect the decision of the Panel, and to implement it immediately, without allowing for the 24 hour period for complaints against this decision addressed to the Supreme Court. Furthermore, today’s decision of the CEC decided to suspend in Prishtina and Prizren the counting of all conditional votes casted, as well as the counting of the votes casted by the Diaspora, and to begin a full recount for all other votes casted in these two municipalities, in an attempt to cover, blur, and leave seemingly “undetermined” the final results of the voting. We call upon all international election monitoring missions in the Republic of Kosova, as well as the diplomatic community involved in the election monitoring process, to denounce the current flagrant infringements of the laws and procedures, as well as the manipulations, of the election process and voting results in the Municipality of Prishtina and Prizren. The Movement for Self-determination will remain neither silent nor passive in fighting against this last injustice that is targeting the heart of democracy in the Republic of Kosova. We will use all possible legal means and our democratic right to protest inside and outside state institutions in order to bring about justice and not to allow the deformation of the people’s will in these elections.
Kind regards, Visar Ymeri President
Rr. “Kasem Haxhimurati”, Nr. 12, Prishtinë, Kosovë Tel: + 377 44 411 174,www.vetevendsoje.org ; firstname.lastname@example.org