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news 26 Apr 12

Brussels Mediating Over Serb Votes in Kosovo

Ten days ahead of Serbian elections, Brussels, Belgrade and Pristina are trying to find a solution on how to let Kosovo Serbs vote in the presidential and parliamentary polls.

Bojana Barlovac

Brussels is in constant touch with Belgrade and Pristina seeking a solution to enable Serbs in Kosovo to vote in Serbia's presidential and general elections, Balkan Insight has learned from a Brussels diplomat.

"The situation is complicated as Serbs should be allowed to vote [in Kosovo], as that is the European practice as well, but it is also a matter of security due to recent tension in the north [of Kosovo]," the diplomat told Balkan Insight.

According to the Brussels source, the plan is to for the OSCE to provide the logistics, as Kosovo is opposed to the Serbian state playing any role in voting inside Kosovo.

General, local and presidential elections are scheduled for May 6 in Serbia. Serbian nationals living in other countries can vote in the presidential and general elections, in their country of residence.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008 but Serbia still perceives it as part of its southern province, which is why it has no embassy in Pristina where Serbs could vote.

Goran Bogdanovic, Serbian Minister for Kosovo, confirmed that talks with the OSCE on organising the elections were underway.

"We are willing to accept the OSCE's help but in no way can the OSCE organise the presidential and parliamentary elections, and that is the dispute," Bogdanovic said.

According to the minister, many things have been agreed, including the number of polling stations and constituencies as well as buildings where the voting will be held. They have also agreed on symbols at pollings stations, which will be the OSCE symbol and not the emblem of the state of Serbia.

"But we did not agree on the key issue - who should organise it," he added.

Kosovo authorities have also they will back voting in Serbian presidential and general elections taking place in Kosovo - if it is not organised by Serbia directly or by local Serbian-run institutions.

Kosovo's President Atifeta Jahjaga and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci have released a statement saying that they had nothing against the OSCE or Council of Europe hosting Serbian legislative and presidential elections in Kosovo.

However, Arber Vllahiu, spokesperson of the Kosovo president, said the Kosovo President had not yet received an official request from the OSCE mission in Kosovo to assist those people holding dual citizenship in Kosovo to participate in the May 6 elections.

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Election Background


Serbian Elections 2012: What's at stake

This spring almost 7 million Serbians are entitled to vote in presidential, general, provincial and local elections. 


Two Decades of Election Tumult in Serbia

Since the renewal of multi-party politics in 1990 power has oscillated between a variety of parties in Serbia and votes have often followed by allegations of frauds and protests. 


Key Parties in Serbia

Twelve years after the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic, the scene has changed significantly as parties rise, fall and change their minds. See Balkan Insight's profiles of Serbia's ruling and opposition parties.


Serbian Presidential Elections Since 1990

Since the first multi-party elections were held in 1990, Serbia has often had acting heads of state, while many of those elected ended their terms before their mandates expired.

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