Kosovo government toppled by no-confidence vote over coronavirus policy

Kosovo police officers wearing face masks greet each other while on patrol in front of the parliament building in Pristina

Kosovo's Parliament Topples Government In No-Confidence Vote

Kosovo lawmakers brought down the Vetevendosje-LDK government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti late on Wednesday, following a vote of no confidence.

Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti delivers a speech during a parliament session in Pristina, Kosovo, February 3, 2020.

"The prime minister chose 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.

With 82 votes against it in the 120-seat parliament, the Cabinet did not survive the vote initiated by coalition partner the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), less than two months after the government took power. Doctors warn that a swell of cases could overwhelm Kosovo's underfunded and understaffed hospitals.

Unable to protest on the streets because of coronavirus restrictions on gatherings, Pristina residents have been clanging pots and pans every evening from their terraces in a show of anger over the political squabbling.

The coalition between Kurti's Vetevendosje (VV) and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) had fallen out after interior minister Agim Veliu was sacked by Kurti.

Even though a member of Kosovo's ruling coalition, the LDK has opposed numerous prime minister's polices, including matters regarding the fight against the coronavirus and the imposition of 100 percent tariffs on goods from neighboring Serbia. Mr Kurti insisted that such a move was not justified. The LDK leader Arben Gashi said this effectively ended the coalition because his party was not consulted first.

Last October's general election was the fourth since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

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

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