Kosovo govt toppled by no-confidence vote amid outbreak

Kosovo police officers wearing face masks greet each other while on patrol in front of the parliament building in Pristina

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

Kosovo's parliament has toppled the country's government in a no-confidence vote, throwing the Western Balkan nation into political turmoil even as it struggles along with the rest of the world to battle the coronavirus epidemic.

It is not clear how the political impasse will be resolved as elections can not be held because of the pandemic. Doctors warn that a swell of cases could overwhelm Kosovo's underfunded and understaffed hospitals.

One protester who managed to circumvent security outside parliament on Wednesday raised a banned at the entrance that read: "The most risky pandemic in Kosovo is politics".

Unable to protest on the streets because of coronavirus restrictions on gatherings, Pristina residents have been clanging pots and pans every evening from their terraces in a show of anger over the political squabbling.

Last week Kurti fired then-interior minister Agim Veliu of the centre-right Democratic League of Kosovo, or LDK, for not being in line with government policy on containing the coronavirus.

"With this I confirm that the parliament approved the motion", parliamentary speaker Vjosa Osmani said after the debate that lasted almost 12 hours.

Veliu had criticized the prime minister for not declaring a state of emergency amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Analysts say it is unlikely that Mr Kurti's party will try to form a new government. Serbia refuses to recognise Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence.

Serbia does not recognise the country and, with Russian support, has blocked it from becoming a member of the United Nations and other worldwide bodies.



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