Members of the Assembly of Kosovo are working to strengthen transparent and inclusive practices as well as exploring new ways to legislate effectively, represent constituents in a single electoral district, and oversee the executive branch of government.
The Central Assembly of Kosovo continued its progress toward establishing government transparency when, on Feb.15, the new Assembly Speaker, Jakup Krasniqi, advised Deputies that recorded votes would be published – a practice that NDI has long encouraged and considers a best practice for democratic legislatures. A hard copy of recorded votes will now be attached to the transcript of each parliamentary session and posted on the official website of the Assembly of Kosovo. The first samples of voting printouts were distributed to members of the Assembly at the session and subsequently approved. From now on, recorded votes will be attached as a hard copy to the transcript of each parliamentary session, available to MPs, parliamentary staff, press and citizens, in addition to being posted on the official website of the Assembly of Kosovo.
In Kosovo, the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure state that “Sessions of the Assembly are Public (Rule 24)” and that “each member has the right to be informed on the work of the Assembly (Rule 8.1).” But the rules do not specifically reference published recorded votes, and until now, Assembly leadership had interpreted the rules to prohibit the practice, despite its usage throughout southeastern Europe, and the Balkan region.
Through its support to the office of the Speaker of the Assembly under both current Speaker Krasniqi and his predecessor, Kole Berisha, NDI offered guidance and expertise on voting protocols in other democratic legislatures. The Speaker drew upon examples provided by NDI that illustrated how Kosovo’s Rules of Procedure could be interpreted to allow for published voting. Consultations with Assembly leadership and caucus leaders bolstered support for the initiative.
There is wide consensus within the democracy community that effective governing institutions necessarily entail citizens’ free and unfettered access to the voting records of their elected representatives. Publishing the legislative votes of members of parliament is a necessity to ensure accountability to the electorate and demonstrate a commitment to institutional transparency.
NDI has worked with the people of Kosovo since 1999 to promote a democratic and ethnically representative political system. With funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), NDI’s programs reach the full spectrum of Kosovo’s political parties and the Assembly of Kosovo. The Institute also provides technical assistance to its partner government monitoring organization, the Kosova Democratic Institute.
Published on Mar. 5, 2008