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News 30 Dec 16

Kosovo Serb Minister Quits Under Serbian Pressure

Kosovo's newly-appointed ethnic Serbian Minister for Local Government, Mirjana Jevtic, resigned on Thursday after Belgrade demanded her removal because it had not endorsed her appointment.

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Slavko Simic, the leader of Srpska Lista. Photo: Beta

Slavko Simic, the head of Lista Srpska, the ethnic Serbian party in Kosovo’s coalition government, told Kosovo's public broadcaster late on Thursday that Jevtic had filed her resignation from the position of local government minister.

“Mirjana Jevtic informed Prime Minister [Isa] Mustafa that she has filed [her] irrevocable resignation… Srpska Lista also informed the prime minister about Jevtic’s resignation,” Simic said.

Jevtic submitted her resignation after Srpska Lista on Wednesday stated that - following a request from Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic - it would again freeze its participation in Kosovo institutions and Jevtic would resign.

“Aleksandar Vucic is the head of our government and his authority for us, as well as for all Serbs in Kosovo, is undisputed,” Srpska Lista said in a statement.

Jevtic was appointed as a minister to replace Ljubomir Maric who Prime Minister Isa Mustafa sacked on December 16, after he accompanied Marko Djuric, the head of the Serbian government’s Kosovo office, on a visit to Kosovo that was not approved by the Pristina authorities.

Instead of Maric, a member of Serbia’s ruling Progressive Party, Mustafa appointed Jevtic from the Socialist Movement, who had served as a deputy minister for local government.

The move caused a disturbance among Kosovo Serb politicians, who – although originally coming from different parties – entered the Kosovo parliament together after forming an election coalition, Srpska Lista.

Following Jevtic’s appointment, Vucic held a meeting with Kosovo Serbs on December 26, issuing an ultimatum demanding that the Kosovo government restore Maric to office and remove Jetvic.

Prime Minister Mustafa responded to that announcement by stating that his decision to sack Maric was definitive.

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