Home Page
News 24 Feb 14

Belgrade’s Candidate Wins North Kosovo Mayor Vote

Goran Rakic was voted mayor of Serb-majority Mitrovica North, beating Oliver Ivanovic, who is in custody accused of war crimes, after an election race dogged by controversy and violence.

Edona Peci BIRN Pristina

Rakic, the candidate from the Belgrade-backed ‘Srpska’ list, took 52.6 per cent of the vote in Sunday’s re-run polls to win the mayoralty, according to preliminary results published by the Kosovo Central Election Commission.

His rival Ivanovic, who was detained last month on suspicion of involvement in war crimes against ethnic Albanians and murders committed after the late 1990s conflict, took 27.7 per cent.

“As new mayor my first request will be to free Mr Oliver Ivanovic and all other unjustly held Serbs,” Rakic said after the vote, according to media reports.

The turnout was low, with only 5,134 of over 28,000 eligible voters participating in the elections, a sign of continuing Serb discontent about taking part in polls organised by the Pristina authorities.

The electoral race in Mitrovica North was seen as crucial to improving relations between Pristina and Belgrade but was marred by violence and prolonged by political controversy.

Elections were first held on November 3, but had to be repeated two weeks later after three polling stations were attacked by masked men on election day.

The first re-run vote could not produce a new mayor, but after a run-off held on December 1, Srpska’s Krstimir Pantic was elected.

But in January, Pantic unexpectedly turned down the position, refusing to sign a document endorsing the oath of office to become mayor.

“By signing below a text where the coat of arms of Kosovo appears, suggesting that Kosovo is a republic, I would violate the constitution of Serbia,” he explained.

Another candidate for the mayoralty, Dimitrije Janicijevic, was also shot dead outside his apartment in January.

The outcome of the elections in Mitrovica North is important for the establishment of the Association of Serb Municipalities, a body envisaged by last April’s EU-brokered deal on normalising relations between Pristina and Belgrade.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Serbia - Kosovo Relations: Latest Headlines

one-kosovo-albanian-killed-two-wounded-in-kosovo-north News 29 Aug 14 Man Shot Dead in Woods in Northern Kosovo

A Kosovo Albanian has been killed and two others were wounded in the forests in Kosovo, allegedly by a person in a Serbian army uniform.

kosovo-serbs-condemn-albanian-protest News 29 Aug 14 Kosovo Protesters Stop Serbs From Attending Church

Several hundred Kosovo Albanians protesting about missing persons from the conflict of the 1990s prevented a busload of Serbs from attending a church service in western Kosovo.

kosovo-serbia-readies-to-build-joint-border-crossings News 26 Aug 14 Kosovo Optimistic About Joint Border Crossings

Kosovo's Deputy Prime Minister has predicted that joint border controls with Serbia, in line with the agreement on Integrated Border Management, will soon be up and running.

ivanovic-to-apear-before-kosovo-court-on-august-26 News 18 Aug 14 Kosovo Serb Leader Awaits War Crimes, Murder Trial

Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic will go on trial on August 26 for war crimes during the Kosovo conflict as well as committing murder during clashes that erupted afterwards.

serbia-kosovo-intepret-deal-on-mitrovica-bridge-differently news 23 Jul 14 Serbia, Kosovo Far Apart on Mitrovica Bridge Deal

EU-led talks on the controversial 'Peace Park erected in the divided northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica have ended with widely differing versions of what was agreed in Brussels.

kosovo-announces-fresh-recognitions News 22 Jul 14 Kosovo Says More Recognitions Are in Sight

Kosovo minister say two more states plan to recognise its statehood by September, though neither country has been named and such predictions have proved false in the past.

kosovo-serbs-threaten-with-massive-quits-from-kosovo-institutions news 21 Jul 14 Kosovo Serbs Threaten to Quit Pristina's Institutions

Local leaders in the Serb-run north of Kosovo are threatening a collective resignation from Pristina-led institutions unless arrested Serbs are freed ahead of their trials.

serbian-politician-banned-from-entering-kosovo News 01 Jul 14 Serbian Politician Banned from Entering Kosovo

Marko Djuric, director of the Serbian government’s office for Kosovo, was denied entry by police at the Jarinje border crossing who said he did not have the right permit from Pristina.

vetevendosje-insists-in-changing-kosovo-serbia-dialogue News 26 Jun 14 Kosovo Nationalists Demand End to Serbia Talks

As a condition for supporting an opposition coalition seeking to form a government after recent polls, the nationalist Vetevendosje Movement wants EU-backed dialogue with Belgrade to stop.

kosovo-serb-leaders-decided-to-participate-in-election News 04 Jun 14 Serb Leaders End Prevarication Over Kosovo Election

After talks with the Serbian government, the Srpska List has finally called on Kosovo Serbs to vote on Sunday - regardless of the ongoing dispute over ballots.