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

tacit-thaci-vucic-alliance-again-outsmarts-the-west-05-18-2017 Comment 18 May 17 Tacit Thaci-Vucic ‘Alliance’ Again Outsmarts the West

As the leaders of both Kosovo and Serbia game the West - by feigning a commitment to the EU Dialogue that neither intends to honour – it is time the West came up with a master plan.

rabid-anti-albanian-sentiments-grip-serbian-media-05-16-2017 ANALYSIS 16 May 17 Rabid Anti-Albanian Sentiment Grips Serbian Media

Growing ethnic and political tensions across the Balkans have triggered rabid warmongering and ethnic anti-Albanian ethnic slurs in Serbian media, local experts warn.

kosovo-official-charged-with-anti-serb-hate-speech-pleaded-not-guilty-04-26-2017 news 26 Apr 17 Kosovo Official Pleads Innocent to Hate Speech

Asim Cenaj, a Kosovo municipal officer charged with inciting hate and ethnic intolerance by insulting Serbs at the council building in Decan/Decani, pleaded not guilty in court.

kosovo-mp-haradinaj-faces-ethnic-hatred-lawsuit-04-20-2017 news 21 Apr 17 Kosovo MP Haradinaj Faces Ethnic Hatred Lawsuit

A Kosovo NGO said it will file a criminal complaint against MP Daut Haradinaj for threatening that Serbs could be expelled from Kosovo if his brother, ex-PM Ramush Haradinaj, is extradited to Belgrade.

kosovo-struggles-to-confront-its-painful-past-04-13-2017 Comment 14 Apr 17 Kosovo Struggles to Confront its Painful Past

The failure of the local and international community to properly address Kosovo's traumatic past has left its communities alienated and mistrustful of official initiatives.

higher-education-is-reinforcing-kosovo-s-ethnic-divide-04-04-2017 Comment 04 Apr 17 Higher Education is Reinforcing Kosovo's Ethnic Divide

Despite years of international efforts aimed at integration, the system of higher education in Kosovo continues to reflect and replicate the country’s deep ethnic divisions.

kosovo-serbs-with-no-stance-on-demarcation-border-03-30-2017 news 31 Mar 17 Kosovo Serbs' Return Revives Hope for Border Deal

The return to parliament of Kosovo Serb MPs has prompted much speculation that the long-delayed controversial border deal with Montenegro may finally go to parliament.

kosovo-approves-serb-pm-visit-03-28-2017 news 28 Mar 17 Pristina Allows Serbian PM Vucic to Visit Kosovo

The Kosovo government is allowing Serbian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Aleksandar Vucic to visit the northern part of country for three hours on Wednesday.

serbian-pm-visits-kosovo-amid-election-uncertainty-03-28-2017 News 28 Mar 17 Serbian PM Mulls Kosovo Visit amid Election Uncertainty

Serbia’s Prime Minister and presidential candidate Aleksandar Vucic is set to visit northern Kosovo, where locals hope for a chance to vote fairly.

srpska-lista-ends-boycott-to-push-municipalities-deal-in-kosovo-03-27-2017 news 27 Mar 17 Kosovo Serb MPs End Boycott of Parliament

Serb MPs returned to Kosovo parliament after six months to speed up the formation of an Association of Serb Municipalities but also to try to stop the formation of a Kosovo Army.