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.

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.