Monday, November 20, 2006

Self-Determination Leader Arrested

Albin Kurti of the Self-Determination group (Vetenvendosje in Albanian) was arrested yesterday by Kosovo police for failing to show up in court to answer charges of civil unrest.  In addition to recent protests against UNMIK and decentralization, the group has claimed responsibility for vandalizing UN vehicles by painting or putting stickers on the body or removing the lug nuts from the wheels.  The group is reportedly planning mass street demonstrations on 28 November calling for the parliament to unilaterally declare independence from Serbia.
Meanwhile, a report has been released stating that Kosovo needs to have a multi-ethnic defense force if granted independence.  The force of around 2500 would be responsible for national security and upon its creation, the UN-group suggests that the Kosovo Protection Corp (TMK in Albanian, KPC in English) is disbanded.  The report that was previewed at a recent forum hosted by the US Institute for Peace goes on to state that TMK members should not be barred from applying for positions in the new Kosovo force but that there should be no guarantees that they will be allowed to transition.  TMK currently has about 5000 "national guardsmen" and is nearly all Albanian.

And in the run-up to the first elections since the death of Rugova, internal party conflict is threatening to split the LDK (Democratic League of Kosovo) party.  The current president, who must resign if he takes the position, and the former speaker are both running campaigns to take over as leader of the party.  The internal conflict has created even further divisions in the party that was struggling to keep things together before Rugova's death.  In the last elections, LDK did not gather enough votes to rule alone so they had to form a coalition government.

And finally, the power!  In one word...BAD!  The new power schedule is 3:3 (three on - three off) in A-areas, 2:5 in B-areas, and 1:5 in C-areas.  Only two of the generators of both power plants are working and Kosovo is already importing nearly 70MW from outside.  With the temperatures still in the 40-50's, the colder part of the winter is looking pretty miserable for everyone in Kosovo.