With 82 votes against it in 120-seat parliament PM Albin Kurti's cabinet did not survive the motion, initiated by coalition partner Democratic League of Kosovo, less than two months since it came to power.

It remains unclear how the government will continue its work as the country cannot hold snap elections due to the spread of coronavirus.
It remains unclear how the government will continue its work as the country cannot hold snap elections due to the spread of coronavirus. (Reuters)

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.

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 it came to power.

It remains unclear how the government will continue its work as the country cannot hold snap elections due to the spread of coronavirus.

PM 'broke governing coalition'

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 and opposed it.

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

In a joint statement earlier, the foreign ministries of Germany and France urged the LDK to reconsider its call for a no-confidence vote and said Kosovo could concentrate on fighting the coronavirus.

Coronavirus cases

Kosovo has reported 63 coronavirus cases. One person has died after contracting the virus.

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

Kosovo introduced the tariff in November 2018, saying it would be abolished once Belgrade 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 former Yugoslavia.

Kurti decided to partially remove the tariffs, prompting the United States to halt $50 million in aid. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies