News 06 Nov 13

Partial Repeat Vote Ordered in North Kosovo

After Serb militants attacked three polling stations in the north of Kosovo on election day, the Central Election Commission, CEC, has ordered a repeat vote in these areas.

Edona Peci

Florian Dushi, a member of the CEC, told BIRN that the election commission had ordered repeat elections in the three polling stations attacked on Sunday.

While many voters in mainly Serbian northern Kosovo simply boycotted the local election, masked men attacked polling stations on the Serbian side of the divided northern town of Mitrovica, causing some to close early.

The violence in the north drew widespread international condemnation.

“I strongly condemn the violent incidents in polling stations of Mitrovica north. All voters have the right to participate in elections in a safe and secure environment, free of violence. The incidents must be investigated without delay,” Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, said on Tuesday.

The issue is due to be discussed in Brussels at upcoming EU-mediated talks between Hashim Thaci, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, and his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic.

The outcome of the November 3 elections in the northern part of Kosovo is seen as a crucial element of the EU-brokered deal on normalizing relations between Pristina and Belgrade.

Serbs in the north boyoctted the last round of local elections in Kosovo, held in 2009.

Sunday's local elections were preceded by a strong campaign against voting, organized by local Serbs opposed to the Serbian government's new policy of cautious engagement with the government in Pristina.

Although the Kosovo authorities have urged the police to track down the perpetrators of the incidents in the “Sveti Sava”, “Secondary Medical School” and “Secondary Technical School” polling stations, it remains unclear who organized the attacks.

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