İrem UZUN -TDO- On Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Albin Kurti, also leader of the Movement for Self-Determination party (LVV), fired its Minister of Interior Agim Veliu of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK). Kurti deemed that Veliu had publicly opposed government’s approach not to support President Thaçi’s proposal for declaring a state of emergency and had incited panic in public over the spread of coronavirus.
President Hashim Thaçi urged parliament late on Tuesday to declare a state of emergency, but Prime Minister Albin Kurti said such a drastic measure was not necessary. Interior Minister Agim Veliu publicly sided with the president. “In these circumstances I am obliged to act and I have decided to dismiss the interior minister Veliu,” Kurti said in a press statement. Kurti also said the decision was taken after minister Veliu was “spreading panic” at the time the country is struggling to contain further spread of coronavirus.
LDK leader Isa Mustafa was quick to call the firing “unacceptable and breach of their governing coalition agreement [between LVV and LDK]”. Mustafa disclosed that according to the agreement between the two parties, a cabinet member proposed by the LDK cannot be dismissed by the Prime Minister without prior consultation with LDK’s leader. He gave Kurti an ultimatum to revoke the minister’s dismissal and lift the tariff on Serbian goods until weekend. Otherwise “the Prime Minister’s unilateral actions are harmful, unacceptable and [would] bring the coalition to an end,” Mustafa concluded.
Some of LDK’s statements on this matter have been very critical of Kurti, accusing him of hurting Kosovo’s relations with the U.S., which has increased tensions between the two governing partners. The latest turn will most likely be a major test for coalition’s survival. If the coalition government breaks down, Kosovo would be poised for snap elections, only a few months after the October ballot.