Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti has dismissed the Minister of Interior, Agim Veliu for opposing the government position against declaring a state of emergency and for inciting panic in public.
Veliu is the deputy leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), the governing coalition ally of Kurti’s Movement for Self-determination (LVV). It is not clear how the decision for his dismissal might affect the coalition. The two parties have recently disagreed on how to handle the US pressure to lift the tariff on Serbian imports, which has resulted in Kurti backing off from his proposal.
Yesterday, President Hashim Thaçi announced he had signed a proposal to request the Parliament to declare the state of emergency due to coronavirus. His proposal should pass a vote within 48 hours after reaching the Parliament.
The state of emergency would enable the deployment of the military, of which the President is the commander-in-chief, and it would arguably give more power to Thaçi.
The government has already declared a state of public health emergency on March 15, and stated it will not support Thaçi’s proposal in Parliament.
In their announcement of Agim Veliu’s dismissal, the government stated he had opposed Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s stance on Thaçi’s decree on live TV last night, and had stated that “the number of those infected [with coronavirus] is increasing by the hour.”
It added that health institutions in Kosovo did not corroborate Veliu’s claim about the speed of the outbreak. Kosovo has reported a total of 19 people infected with coronavirus.
Kurti said he has asked LDK leader Isa Mustafa to propose the name of the new minister as soon as possible.