Kosovo's government toppled through no-confidence vote over coronavirus response

Clay Curtis
March 26, 2020

Kosovo lawmakers dismissed the government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti in a no-confidence vote triggering a political crisis as the Balkan country is trying to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Kurti who was voted on 3 February 2020 will remain as a caretaker prime minister in the meantime.

"The prime minister made a decision to give an end to the deal with the LDK when he discharged a minister without first consulting with the partner", said Arben Gashi, head of LDK's parliamentary group.

A 12-hour long debate on the no-confidence vote culminated in a vote of 82 in favour, 32 against and one abstention.

President Hashim Thaci, whose party lost in the last elections, now has the power to give Kurti - his political enemy - another chance to form a government or call a new poll.

Doctors have warned that without clear direction, the disease could overwhelm Kosovo's underfunded health system.

One protester who managed to circumvent security outside parliament on Wednesday raised a banned at the entrance that read: "The most unsafe pandemic in Kosovo is politics".

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The motion in Albin Kurti's Government was triggered by junior coalition partner - LDK.

Veliu had criticized the prime minister for not declaring a state of emergency amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He said his government was dismissed to remove an obstacle to allow the signing of an agreement reached between Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic that was mediated by Richard Grenell, the US special representative responsible for dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo. The LDK leader Arben Gashi said this effectively ended the coalition because his party was not consulted first.

Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence.

For weeks Washington has been putting enormous pressure on Kurti to drop the tariff that is now the main obstacle to the negotiations.

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