There is a report in SETimes that a parliamentary commission in Kosovo has approved a proposal to introduce the direct election of the president and to increase presidential powers. The report seems to make it clear that the PM will still responsible to the legislature. So, the reform would appear to create the conditions for semi-presidentialism.
According to the report, the proposal has to be approved by the constitutional council and by parliament. However, it seems to be the case that the proposal is likely to be approved, not least because the current president is being seen as an interim appointment with a view to a direct presidential election next year.
The increase in powers relates to the proposal for the president to head the Kosovo Security Council (KSC), which seems to be a fairly important institution especially given the potential for instability in the region. In addition, the president would have the right to appoint judges, prosecutors, the ombudsperson and ambassadors. However, proposals to allow the president appoint the head of Kosovo’s intelligence agency and the governor of the central bank were rejected.
SETimes is reporting that a constitutional commission has been established in Kosovo and that one of its recommendations is likely to be the direct election of the president. If this reform is passed, then Kosovo would become semi-presidential.
The report seems to present more than just speculation. The vice chairman of the commission is quoted as saying “Around 30 provisions in the constitution will be changed, including drafting a new law on electing the president”.
The position of the president has been controversial since independence. Twice presidents have been forced to step down. Therefore, the direct election of the president is seen as being a means to ensure more stability.
The constitution of Kosovo came into effect on Sunday. For the record, it establishes (or confirms) a parliamentary system.
The document is available here. The president is elected by the assembly (Art. 86-1). The government needs the approval of parliament and can be dismissed by parliament.
Kosovo has adopted the model that operates in Albania, which is also parliamentary, rather than the Former Yugoslavia model. With the exception of Bosnia’s unusual status, all countries in the Former Yugoslavia have semi-presidential constitutions.
The Constitutional Commission in Kosovo has a lot of detail available on its website. One page provides a list of all the articles that were changed during the drafting process. Interestingly, Article 86 was not amended at all. So, either the principle of parliamentarism seems to have been accepted by all parties in the discussion from the very outset, or this article was not considered to be open for amendment.