feature 19 Oct 17

Local Elections Reveal Different Strife in North Kosovo

As local elections in Kosovo draw nearer, the tensions in the Serb-dominated north are very different from the ones that haunted this region in the past.

Milan Radonjic
Scenes from a market in Serb-dominated northern Mitrovica. Photo: Adam Jones Wikimedia Commons 

Kosovo’s once infamous town of Mitrovica – for years known for its deep ethnic divisions and violent incidents between Albanians and Serbs – is a different place today.

The town and the rest of Kosovo are bracing now for a key local election. However, the campaigns of both Albanian and Serbian parties, which are reaching their crescendo ahead of Sunday's ballot, do not seem to be damaging ethnic relations much in the once divided town.

Many people, including families with children, have been out enjoying what is probably the last warm spell before winter, happily strolling about and crossing the New Bridge, which once divided but now finally connects the two communities living on either side of the Ibar river.

Occasional laugher and chatter in both Albanian and Serbian can be heard from the southern, mainly Albanian, and from the northern, mainly Serbian part of town. Even a sudden burst of what sounded like machine gun fire failed to impress people.

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