LDK leader Isa Mustafa has announced the party’s intention to initiate a motion of no confidence against the government, less than 50 days into its coalition with Vetevendosje.
After a meeting of the chairmanship of the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, on Wednesday evening, party leader Isa Mustafa announced a decision to initiate a motion of no confidence against the government.
“We don’t see a possibility or reason to co-govern with Vetevendosje,” Mustafa told a press conference after the meeting.
The meeting came after Prime Minister and Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti dismissed LDK’s Minister of Internal Affairs and Public Administration, Agim Veliu, earlier on Wednesday, for “spreading panic” about the coronavirus in Kosovo.
Following his dismissal, Veliu told BIRN that the coalition agreement between Vetevendosje and LDK included assurances that no minister could be dismissed without prior consultation and the approval of LDK’s leadership.
“Today there was an unexpected and unannounced action by the prime minister – the dismissal of an LDK minister, contrary to our agreement,” Mustafa told the press conference. “We agreed these issues were to be discussed with the LDK president. This has not happened. This is an arbitrary action. This tells us that Mr. Kurti does not want to cooperate with us.”
Mustafa stated that their coalition partner had violated the co-governance agreement on several occasions, and also cited disagreements over the removal of the 100 per cent tariff on goods imported from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Plans outlined by Kurti in February to gradually remove the tariff failed to come into effect on Sunday, after the prime minister was unable to convince his coalition partners in LDK to issue a government decision on the matter. Mustafa stated that he had written to Kurti to ask him to remove the tariffs entirely following the passing of the deadline but received no response.
Kurti’s plans caused consternation among LDK figures when they were first announced in February, with Deputy Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti stating that it was “not a government decision.” The plans were also criticised by US Special Envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue, Richard Grenell, and a number of other senior US politicians.
At the press conference on Wednesday evening, Mustafa accused Vetevendosje of jeopardising Kosovo-US relations. “At the heart of the LDK programme is enduring friendship with the US,” he said. “We cannot undermine our political integrity with a country that has helped us gain freedom and declare independence for our country. If we are not peacefully oriented then the US can withdraw its troops”
Mustafa cited the freezing of funds by the Millenium Challenge Corporation for economic development projects in Kosovo and the withdrawal of ContourGlobal from the construction of the Kosova e Re power plant project as evidence that Kosovo-US relations were deteriorating.
Divisions within LDK over the motion have begun to appear. Speaker of the Assembly Vjosa Osmani told BIRN that she and Lumir Abdixhiku, the Minister of Infrastructure and Environment, did not back the LDK chairmanship’s decision to initiate a motion of no confidence. “Lumir Abdixhiku and I did not vote for a motion against the government,” she said.
The coalition government was approved by the Kosovo Assembly on February 3, four months after parliamentary elections were held on October 6, 2019 with 66 votes in favour, no votes against and 10 abstentions.
The date of the vote of no confidence has not yet been announced.
18 March 2020 - 20:44
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