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

highs-and-downs-in-relations-between-listasrpska-and-kosovo-institutions-10-11-2016 profile 19 Oct 16 Serb Party Pushes Belgrade’s Agenda in Kosovo

The main Kosovo Serb party’s boycott of parliament shows that its decisions are guided by Belgrade, while also highlighting Pristina political leaders’ inability to integrate the country’s Serb minority.

kosovo-s-privatisation-process-obstructed-by-serbia-10-13-2016 Analysis 17 Oct 16 Kosovo’s Privatisation Process Obstructed by Serbia

Kosovo’s efforts to privatise state companies from the Yugoslav era have continued to face strong opposition from Serbia, which has been seeking to assert control over key assets in its former province.

resolution-on-arrest-of-kosovo-police-director-10-12-2016 news 12 Oct 16 Kosovo MPs Demand Serbia Releases Police Director

Kosovo’s parliament passed a resolution calling for the release of Mitrovica police director Nehat Thaci, who was arrested in Serbia on terrorism charges, and for the EU to intervene to ensure he is freed.

serbia-do-not-recognize-pristina-decision-10-11-2016 News 11 Oct 16 Serbia Rejects Kosovo’s Trepca Mine Takeover

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Belgrade does not accept the Kosovo government’s decision to put the huge ex-Yugoslav Trepca mining complex under Pristina’s control.

kosovo-serbia-agreements-were-doomed-from-the-start-10-10-2016 Comment 11 Oct 16 Kosovo-Serbia Agreements Were Doomed From the Start

It is no surprise that none of the four agreements signed last year have got anywhere when both governments have been insincere about the normalisation process from the beginning.

kosovo-s-president-asks-for-justice-on-war-crimes-10-10-2016 news 10 Oct 16 Kosovo President Demands Prosecutors Probe War Crimes

President Hashim Thaci sent letters to Kosovo prosecutors urging them to take action to resolve a series of crimes against both ethnic Albanians and Serbs during and after the war in 1999.

kosovo-police-director-denies-serbian-terror-charges-10-10-2016 news 10 Oct 16 Kosovo Police Director Denies Serbian ‘Terror’ Charges

Nehat Thaci, the Kosovo Police director in the Mitrovica area who was arrested last month by Serbia, denied charges accusing him of staging a terrorist attack on a Serb family in 1999.

kosovo-parliament-to-debate-trepca-law-despite-protests-10-07-2016 News 07 Oct 16 Kosovo Parliament to Debate Trepca Law Despite Protests

Kosovo’s parliament is due to start a debate on the draft law on the Trepca mine amid controversy over the exact plans and protests by Serbia and Kosovo Serbs.

djuric-prohibited-from-entering-in-kosovo-10-03-2016 News 03 Oct 16 Kosovo Blocks Serbian Official's Planned Visit

Kosovo on Monday refused to allow Marko Djuric, head of the Serbian government’s Kosovo office, into the country, having ordered him out in September for breaking the protocol on Serbian official visits.

kosovo-police-director-arrested-in-serbia-09-29-2016 news 29 Sep 16 Serbia Arrests Kosovo Police Director for ‘Terrorism’

Kosovo police’s director in the Mitrovica area, Nehat Thaci, has been arrested at a border crossing by the Serbian authorities on terrorism charges, although the specific allegations remain unknown.