Kosovo Serbs boycott local elections

Voting ends with only 3.47% turnout or 1,567 of 45,095 registered voters

Talha Ozturk  | 24.04.2023 - Update : 24.04.2023
Kosovo Serbs boycott local elections


Kosovo Serbs boycotted extraordinary elections Sunday in four municipalities in the north of the country.

Voting ended with only a 3.47% turnout according to the Kosovo Central Election Commission (KQZ).

The board said that 1,567 out of 45,095 registered voters in the region headed to the polls until 7 p.m. local time.

A total of 11 candidates ran for mayor in North Mitrovica, Zubin Potok, Leposavic and Zvecan and 60 candidates for the city councils of Zvecan and Leposavic.

From the Kosovo Serb community, only Sladjana Pantovic, who was an independent candidate for mayor in Zvecan, took part.

KQZ had decided to reduce the number of polling stations from 44 to 19.

Thirteen of the centers were alternative and set up in containers in safe zones.

The first results of the elections are expected to be announced by midnight.

According to preliminary results, Prime Minister Albin Kurti's Self-determination Movement declared victory in Kosovska Mitrovica.

Unofficially, Self-Determination also won in Leposavic, while the Democratic Party of Kosovo won in Zubin Potok. There is no data yet for Zvecan.

The results are based on parties’ data.

The US embassy in Kosovo announced that the elections in the four northern municipalities were held in accordance with the constitutional and legal provisions of Kosovo.

It issued a statement saying that participation in elections helps ensure that leaders are representative of the population they serve and voting is a critical freedom of a democratic society.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced that he will address the nation on Monday regarding the elections.

Petar Petkovic, the director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, a coordination body of the Serbian government, said that out of the 45,095 registered voters in four municipalities, 1,566 Albanians and 13 Serbs voted in Sunday's elections.

The Serb List, the largest Serbian party in Kosovo, announced Friday that it would not participate in the elections.

The leader of the Kosovo Serbs Party, Aleksandar Jablanovic, announced on April 20 that he and his party had withdrawn from elections in Leposavic municipality on the grounds that there were no adequate conditions for holding them.

- Extraordinary local elections in northern Kosovo

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani announced that the elections in the northern municipalities were postponed to April 23 due to the risky security situation.

Osmani's decision came after the withdrawal of Kosovo Serbs from central and local institutions in Kosovo.

The elections were previously scheduled for Dec. 18, 2022.

A series of incidents came amid preparations.

More than 10 parked vehicles belonging to Serbs were set on fire by an unknown person or group.

Earlier this month, a Serbian official accused Kosovo authorities of trying to provoke Serbs in the country by shooting a member of the local community.

Petar Petkovic, the director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, told local media that Serbian national Milan Jovanovic was wounded with a police firearm on the northern Leposavic-Mitrovica road

Kosovo police announced that it had suspended four officers suspected of being involved, including one who may have fired the gun.

The Kosovo Central Election Commission decided to reduce the number of polling stations from 44 to 19 for the elections.

Thirteen of the centers are alternative and would be set up in containers in safe areas.

Kosovo, predominantly inhabited by ethnic Albanians, broke from Serbia in 1999 and declared independence in 2008. Serbia has not recognized its independence and sees its former province as a part of its territory.

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