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HomeBalkansKosovo Serbs Call for Boycott of Local Elections

Kosovo Serbs Call for Boycott of Local Elections

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Serbia officials expect difficult elections in Serb municipalities, describes ‘dark day for democracy’.

BELGRADE, Serbia

Kosovo Serbs demanded a boycott Friday of extraordinary local elections on April 23 in four municipalities in the north of the country.

The Serbian List, the largest Serbian party in Kosovo, announced it would not participate in the elections.

“We call on all Serbs in the north of Kosovo to remain calm on Sunday, April 23, and not be deceived by the provocations of the Albin Kurti regime, whose sole purpose is to drive the Serbs out of northern Kosovo by holding these elections,” it said in a statement, referring to the prime minister.

The party described the elections in the Mitrovica, Zvecan, Zubin Potok, and Leposavic municipalities as undemocratic.

“We all understood very well that Kurti, through the occupying mayors, wants to manage 4 municipalities in the north of Kosovo without the support of the people,” it said.

The leader of the Kosovo Serbs Party, Aleksander Jablanovic, announced on April 20 that he and his party withdrew from the Leposavic Municipality elections on grounds that there were no conditions for holding elections.

After it withdrew, only Sladjana Pantovic from the Serbian community, who will run as an independent candidate for mayor of Zvecan, remained in the elections.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Sunday will be a difficult day for Kosovo Serbs and a “day of shame” for democracy.

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic described the elections as “the dark day for democracy” and said Kosovo violated the rights of Serbs.

“Let Kosovo and international institutions celebrate Sunday as a symbol of democracy. We’ll see later,” she said.

Extraordinary local elections in northern Kosovo

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani announced the elections in the northern municipalities were postponed to April 23 due to the risky security situation.

Osmani’s decision came after the withdrawal of Kosovo Serbs from central and local institutions in Kosovo.

The elections were previously scheduled for Dec. 18, 2022.

A series of incidents came amid preparations.

More than 10 parked vehicles belonging to Serbs were set on fire by an unknown person or group.

A local community member Serb was injured in the region by police with a firearm.

Kosovo police announced it suspended four officers suspected of being involved, including one who may have fired a firearm.

Kosovo’s Central Election Commission decided to reduce the number of polling stations from 44 to 19 for the elections.

It was stated that 13 of the centers are alternative and will be established in containers in safe areas.

Kosovo, predominantly inhabited by ethnic Albanians, broke from Serbia in 1999 and declared independence in 2008. Serbia has not recognized its independence and sees its former province as a part of its territory.

Source: Anadolu Ajansi

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