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Building local institutions and parliamentarianism in post-war Kosovo: A review of joint efforts by the UN and OSCE from 1999-2006

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After the breakdown of state institutions in Kosovo following the war in 1998/'99, the missions of the United Nations (UNMIK) and the OSCE in Kosovo (OMIK) were tasked with the establishment of functioning local institutions for self-government. Striving towards such common goal, both missions combined their efforts in a joint pillar structure in order to provide for an international interim administration in the province, build local party structures, compile voter registers, hold elections at municipal and central level, and assist the nascent parliamentary assembly and local government in Kosovo. The article introduces the different steps in the development of this process, starting with a brief overview of the missions' mandate for institution-building and followed by an analysis of UNMIK's and OMIK's joint efforts in the pre-election administrative structure, the establishment of democratically elected municipal and central institutions, and the current negotiations on Kosovo's future status. The article analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the co-operation between the two missions by comparing their qualitative advantages and operational shortcomings at four different levels: their functional mandates, their hierarchical structures, their organizational cultures, and their operational working procedures. The final conclusion summarizes the main differences between the two missions as rather participation and bottom-up oriented in the one case, and more hierarchically and top-down oriented in the other.


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