PRESIDENT JAHJAGA’S SPEECH AT THE NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION COUNCIL MEETING

Welcome to this consecutive meeting of the National Anti-Corruption Council, on the subject of “Elections and Corruption”.

Honourable Deputy Prime Minister Kuçi,
Honourable Minister Rexhepi,
Honourable Mr. Zbogar
Honourable Ms. Jacobson,
Honourable General Farina,
Honourable Mr. Borchardt,
Honourable Ambassadors,
Honourable representatives of the Judiciary, Prosecution, Kosovo Police,
Honourable representatives of the civil society,
Honourable media representatives;
 
Welcome to this consecutive meeting of the National Anti-Corruption Council, on the subject of “Elections and Corruption”.
 
Kosovo has entered an important stage of its statehood, in which, alongside its international consolidation, we are endeavouring to build a society with democratic values, based upon the respect of rule and law.
 
By establishing principles for a state of law we are dedicating ourselves to zero tolerance for negative phenomena in the country, in particular the organised crime and corruption, making it clear that we will win this war. Now it is time that this dedication of ours produces results through full implementation of the laws and practices we have built so far.
 
It is only natural that our citizens are requesting accountability from us and to see the leadership in us, because their future depends from our joint results from the war against corruption and organised crime and that the future of our country depends from our joint endeavours.
 
We must return the trust of our citizens in institutions, and to provide accountability for our governance. This trust is achieved by guaranteeing that rights and freedoms of our citizens, anywhere in Kosovo, will not be violated by crime.
 
We have made it clear that our reforms of the justice system must be deepened and concluded based on best practices, in order for creation of the working space of independent and efficient mechanisms for building of the state of law.
 
No one can be above the law and no one can treat the system of justice as unilateral. We want a dignified system of justice; with able individuals willing to implement the law and a society which respects the laws as well.
 
Kosovo has shown that it is willing to undertake the reforms in judiciary, one of the most important chains of our statehood, but it remains upon us to translate the advances in this field into concrete and measurable results. Justice must be completely independent, without political influence but professionally able and ready to act at any time for the benefit of the citizens and of the state in general.
 
Kosovo does not have much time to lose because the Euro-Atlantic integrations processes depend on ourselves; our will, work and our engagement to demonstrate that we are ready and brave enough to undertake the most important steps for our state and our society. We have held many meetings, drafted many laws, looked for many ways to establish the principle of zero tolerance on corruption, but we have not as yet shown sufficient results in this field.
 
Fighting of corruption still remains one of the greatest hindrances in advancing towards Euro-Atlantic integrations. Justice system remains the most important chain of this process.
 
When I said that Kosovo today is at one of the most important periods of its statehood, I consider as absolutely necessary the fact of institutional joint activity, harmonisation and coordination in our society of the activities to raise not only the level of awareness but also of direct activities for a irreversible process of eradication of corruption and organised crime.
 
Today we are at a stage when we require more work and action to show not only the readiness but also the efficiency of the prevention of corruption at the electoral process as well.
 
In accordance with my Constitutional and legal obligations, I have decreed the pre-term parliamentary elections for June 8th of this year. I consider that the standard determined by our society of last local elections must be demonstrated this time as well, at the June 8th elections, guaranteeing a democratic, comprehensive process, with full guarantees for the vote of each citizen, wherever they may reside.
 
I have asked European Union to send an election observing mission, a request approved by EU, who will be monitoring the pre-term parliamentary elections.
 
We will be going to the new polls with an old law. Political parties represented at the Parliament of Kosovo, by now dissolved, have commenced the electoral reform but did not manage to complete it. Electoral reform would have helped improve the legislation and establishment of a better electoral climate, in congruence with the highest international norms and in accordance with our aspiration of European integrations, and also fulfil one of the conditions on this path.
 
However deficient the existing law might be, we have demonstrated that we can organise and hold internationally acceptable elections, as was the case with the 2013 municipal elections, held on the whole territory of the Republic of Kosovo.
 
We have demonstrated that key to success for the defence of the right of the citizens to elect and be elected is inter-institutional mobilisation. We have shown to the citizens and international community that democratic functioning of our institutions defends the fundamental rights and punishes those who dare to touch the foundations of our state, a state of equal citizens which guarantees the rights of each citizen, civic liberties and equality in front of the law.
 
At last municipal elections, law enforcement, prosecution and judicial bodies have shown an improvement in apprehension and punishing of the individuals who have attempted to interfere with the freedom of the vote through corruptive methods.
 
This must be further intensified in the coming elections. We must even strongly protect the vote of our citizens in order to create trustworthy and legitimate institutions. It is necessary to avoid political consequences which appear from electoral corruption and which can result in election of individuals with a questionable credibility, lacking in political will for solving of the problems of citizens, lacking of accountability and lowering of their services to the citizens.
 
I call upon all the institutions represented here to remain vigilant and  to meticulously apply the law in every case where through corruptive methods, attempts are made to manipulate with the citizens vote. Pre term general elections in the country must be an example which will lead the state of Kosovo forward, which establish the standard for electoral processes and which encourages the citizens, in every corner of Republic of Kosovo , decide for themselves about their future, without fear for the manipulation of their vote.