From: Bledar Qalliu
Parliament Votes Down the Government, Kosovo Enters a Governing Crisis amidst the Coronavirus Epidemic

The Parliament of Kosovo has voted to oust Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s government. The no-confidence vote initiated by Kurti’s coalition partner Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) gained 82 votes in the 120-seat parliament today. 32 MPs voted against and one abstained.

Speaker of Parliament Vjosa Osmani, also deputy head of LDK, voted against her party’s motion.

The Kurti government was voted down only 52 days after the coalition between the Movement for Self-Determination (LVV) and LDK took power. It also came amidst the coronavirus epidemic in the country. Kosovo has reported one dead and 71 infected so far.

Cracks in the new coalition started to appear when Kurti did not take the advice of the US administration to immediately and unconditionally lift the 100 per cent tariffs on Serbian goods imposed by the previous government.

Instead, Kurti proposed a plan to gradually lift tariffs, and impose reciprocity measures toward Serbia if the latter did not reciprocate. The US administration opposed the plan and demanded immediate and unconditional lifting. Kurti did not back down and the LDK sided with the request from the US.

The crisis escalated when Kurti fired a LDK minister over statements against his government’s decisions not to support President Thaçi’s proposal for parliament to declare a state of emergency, which would give the president more power during the corona virus outbreak.

LDK leader Isa Mustafa then threatened Kurti with a vote of no-confidence that would oust the newly-formed coalition government. The LDK argued that Kurti has put at risk Kosovo’s relationship with the US and has violated the coalition agreement by firing the minister.

One day ahead of the vote, the EU and US seemed to disagree on the parliament holding a no-confidence vote. The EU demanded the motion be dropped, while the US praised the decision to hold the vote as a sign of respect for the Constitution.

In his speech in parliament today, PM Kurti stated that his government was facing a no-confidence vote to open the way to an agreement with Serbia through exchange of territories, which is ready and waiting to be signed.

He added that President Thaçi had confirmed to him that such an agreement already exists but the dropping of tariffs on Serbian goods, without imposing reciprocity measures was necessary before signing it. Kurti claimed it included the exchange of territories between the two countries.

“Lift the tariff, we go to Washington together, we make the deal and get rid of Serbia forever […] Only you and I can do this,” Kurti said Thaçi told him in one of their meetings.

“We are here and alive, and won’t allow this happen,” Kurti stated about the supposed existing agreement between presidents of Kosovo and Serbia.

The government should continue its work until it’s replaced by a new one.