The first case of Covid-19 in Kosovo was registered later than other regional countries. Nevertheless, the government took numerous decisions prior to the first case by imposing a few restrictive measures and established coordinating mechanisms to handle the pandemic. However, the government of Kosovo was not dealing only with the imminent and unpredictable Covid-19 pandemic.
Disagreements between the coalition parties, including the president of the country, on how to deal with coronavirus further shook the government. The disagreements were articulated at the National Security Council and later on publicly when the president recommended that a state emergency should be declared, which would entail shifting the government’s power to the National Security Council chaired by the president – a political rival of the prime minister. According to the constitution, the decree for a state of emergency is sent to parliament after consultation with the prime minister. President Thaçi never sent the decree to parliament. This option was opposed by the prime minister yet supported publicly by the minister of internal affairs – representing the other coalition member.
The prime minister dismissed the minister of internal affairs precipitating arguing that he had spread panic through comments that ‘the number of those affected is increasing by the hour’ at a time when only 20 people were infected with the coronavirus and no death related to the virus had been recorded.
The political disagreements between the coalition parties in the midst of the coronavirus incited a popular response when people went to their balconies and protested by banging their pots; civil society organisations also called upon the political parties to reach a consensus and avoid a motion of no confidence during the pandemic period.
Read all Covid-19 in the Global South case studies here.
Table of contents
2. Handling of Covid-19: Two Governments
2.2. Health Sector
2.4. The Impact on the Economy
2.5. Judicial System
3. Gender and Covid-19
4. The International Players in the Fight Against Covid-19 in Kosovo