Home Page
News 15 Feb 12

Kosovo Serb Referendum Goes Into Second Day

The contentious vote on Kosovo's Albanian-dominated institutions has moved to another municipality.

Marija Ristic BIRN Belgrade
North Kosovo Serb Referendum  Photo by Tim Judah

Serbs in northern Kosovo headed to the polls for a second day to vote in a controversial referendum, which both the international community and the authorities in Belgrade had hoped they would abandon.

Local Serb leaders who oppose Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence are asking voters whether they accept the Albanian-led "institutions of the so-called Republic of Kosovo".
A total of 48 per cent of the electorate had cast their ballots in three of the four municipalities of northern Kosovo by 7pm, the referendum commission announced on Tuesday night.
Kosovo Serb representatives say around 35,500 people have the right to vote in 82 polling stations in the four mostly Serb northern municipalities of Zubin Potok, Zvecan, northern Mitrovica and Leposavic.
North Kosovo Serb Referendum   Photo by Tim Judah
Three municipalities are voting over two days, while the fourth, Leposavic, is voting only on Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, 33 polling stations opened in Lepsovic and 11,000 people there are eligible to vote, according to the referendum commission. Krstimir Pantic, the Serb mayor of the town of Mitrovica, said the referendum would strengthen the position of Serbs in the north, as well as that of Serbs south of the Ibar river in Kosovo.
North Kosovo                            Photo by Tim Judah
"I believe they [the Serbs elsewhere in Kosovo] will soon organise a referendum too and show that none of us has given up on Kosovo and Metohija," Pantic told local media. But the initiative does not have the support of the Serbian government, even though Belgrade strongly opposes Kosovo's declaration of independence.
Serbian President Boris Tadic said on Tuesday that holding the referendum was harmful to the interests of Serbia.
North Kosovo Serb Referendum         Photo by Tim Judah
Tadic said he understood the need of Serbs in northern Kosovo to express their political will but added that local governments could not do more than the state to tackle the issue of Kosovo's status.
"This move by leaders of the municipalities in northern Kosovo can only reduce the possibilities of the state, and is not in the interests of Serbs in the province," Tadic said in a statement.
Serbian officials also fear the referendum may damage Serbia's prospects of becoming a candidate for European Union membership.
North Kosovo Serb Referendum   Photo by Tim Judah
"The referendum diminishes our credibility and capacity for negotiations with the international community," Goran Bogdanovic, Serbia's Minister for Kosovo, told parliament last week.
The European Union also views the vote in a negative light.
"The European Commission believes that the referendum is not a solution for the 'special situation' in northern Kosovo," said Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for the High Representative Catherine Ashton on Tuesday.
She said a solution could only come through consultations and dialogue.
North Kosovo Serb Referendum      Photo by Tim Judah
Kosovo's government also dismissed the referendum, saying it was illegal and invalid and violated the sovereignty of the Republic of Kosovo.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Serbia - Kosovo Relations: Latest Headlines

haradinaj-has-been-useful-enemy-for-serbia-s-leader-09-20-2017 Comment 20 Sep 17 Haradinaj Has Been Useful Enemy for Serbia’s Leader

Only Aleksandar Vucic could pull off the trick of making political capital out of denouncing Ramush Haradinaj’s ‘crimes’ – before then instructing his clients in Kosovo to make him Prime Minister.

serbian-movie-about-kosovo-sparks-new-tensions-09-18-2017 News 18 Sep 17 Kosovo Slates Serbian Film Attacking its UNESCO Bid

The Kosovo prime minister's office has condemned a Serbian documentary film that attacks Pristina's bid to join the UN cutural body UNESCO as offensive.

serbia-s-arrest-warrant-against-haradinaj-still-in-place-09-11-2017 News 12 Sep 17 Serbia Still Seeking Arrest of Kosovo PM Haradinaj

Although Ramush Haradinaj has become Kosovo’s prime minister, the warrant that Serbia issued for his arrest on war crimes charges will remain in force, which may cause him travel problems.

serbian-public-divided-over-the-lista-srpska-decision-09-08-2017 News 08 Sep 17 Prospect of Haradinaj Running Kosovo Divides Serbia

The decision of the main Serb party in Kosovo to support the election of a new speaker - which will probably lead to former guerrilla leader Ramush Haradinaj becoming Kosovo's new prime minister - has shocked some in Serbia.

new-report-proposes-more-robust-role-of-eu-usa-in-serbia-kosovo-dialogue-09-05-2017 News 05 Sep 17 Serbia Must Recognise Kosovo, US Experts Insist

A review of the EU-mediated Belgrade-Pristina dialogue by experts at Columbia University recommends that Brussels and Washington take action to enforce all agreements - and insists Serbia must recognise Kosovo.

kosovo-serbia-pledge-to-implement-justice-agreement-08-31-2017 News 31 Aug 17 Kosovo, Serbia Leaders Pledge to Honour Justice Deal

The Serbian and Kosovo Presidents have promised to implement an EU-mediated justice agreement by October after meeting EU foreign policy chief Mogherini in Brussels.

albin-kurti-kosovo-serbia-dialogue-is-dead--08-29-2017 Interview 29 Aug 17 Albin Kurti: Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue is ‘Dead’

The opposition Vetevendosje candidate for Kosovo prime minister, Albin Kurti, told BIRN that EU-sponsored talks between Pristina and Belgrade have ‘failed’ and should not continue.

mogherini-to-host-new-meeting-with-serbian-and-kosovo-presidents-08-28-2017 News 28 Aug 17 Mogherini to Host New Thaci, Vucic Meeting

The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, will host a new meeting with the presidents of Kosovo and Serbia on Thursday.

kosovo-serbia-historic-deal-remains-stuck-years-on-08-25-2017 Analysis 25 Aug 17 Kosovo-Serbia ‘Historic’ Deal Remains Stuck, Years On

Only one of the four agreements signed between Kosovo and Serbia two years ago has been implemented, while all others are blocked – as the two sides blame each other for the deadlock.

serbian-journalists-association-want-investigation-on-abducted-and-murdered-journalists-in-kosovo-08-21-2017 News 21 Aug 17 Serbian Union Wants Journalists Killed in Kosovo Investigated

Marking the 19th anniversary of the disappearance of two Serbian radio journalists in Kosovo, a journalists’ association has demanded a fresh investigation into their deaths - and those of other journalists abducted and killed in Kosovo.