Kosovo President Flip-Flops on COVID-19 State of Emergency after Kurti Government Ousted

With the Kurti Government ousted, Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaçi has changed his mind on the necessity of declaring a state of emergency in the country, despite the relatively worse situation with Covid-19 infections.

In a press statement on Monday, Thaçi said that in March he had asked for a state of emergency because political parties asked him to do so, but he was not very enthusiastic about it.

“I have hated the word [emergency] my whole life. I had a constitutional and legal obligation to discuss and process the request of political parties for a state of emergency. What I can say is that I have never had an enthusiastic claim regarding that state. My aim was to implement the will of the political spectrum but first of all [to protect] the health of the people,” he stated.

Thaçi added that the circumstances for declaring a state of emergency were a specific “momentum” in time during the Kurti government, now a closed chapter for the President.

In March, Thaçi stated that he had signed a decree declaring a state of emergency, despite the Constitution demanding him to agree beforehand with the Prime Minister. There was no mention of any such request from political parties.

At that time Kosovo had less that a couple of dozens Covid-19 cases.

The decree never reached that the Parliament for a vote, but it was instrumental in the events to come: the support by the Minister of Interior from Kurti’s junior coalition partner LDK, whom Kurti dismissed, followed by open cracks in the coalition, a LDK motion of no confidence, Kurti being toppled, and Thaçi nominating a LDK candidate to form a new government.

Then Prime Minister Albin Kurti accused the President for wanting to take on executive powers, granted to him by the Constitution during the state of emergency, in order to attempt to advance a land swap deal with Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic.

Kosovo has had over 1,100 people infected to date, and 30 deaths related to Covid-19.