Health

Newly-minted Kosovo government ousted over coronavirus policy dispute

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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.

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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 since the government took power.

It remains unclear how the government will continue its work as the country cannot hold snap elections because of the spread of the respiratory disease.

The government was dismissed after a dispute over whether to declare a state of emergency to combat the coronavirus when the LDK filed a motion for a no-confidence vote after Kurti sacked LDK member Agim Veliu as interior minister.

Veliu had supported calls by Kosovo's president for a state of emergency to be declared to combat the coronavirus. Kurti said such a drastic move was not justified.

"By firing the LDK minister without any consultation, the prime minister broke the governing coalition," said Arben Gashi, a member of the LDK.

Kosovo has reported 71 coronavirus cases. One person died after contracting the respiratory disease.

The removal of the interior minister followed other disagreements, notably on whether a tariff of 100% on goods produced in Balkan rival Serbia should be abolished.

Kosovo introduced the tariff in November 2018, saying it would be abolished once Serbia recognised Kosovo.

The move halted dialogue on normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina and angered the European Union and the United States, which backed Kosovo's declaration of independence in 2008 following the wars that tore apart the former Yugoslavia.

Kurti decided to partially remove the tariffs, prompting the United States to halt $50 million in aid.>Read More – Source