Assembly Speaker Glauk Konjufca. Photo: EPA-EFE/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

Assembly Speaker Says Serbia Trying to Destabilize North Ahead of Elections

Glauk Konjufca said Serbia wishes to destabilize the north of Kosovo and so delegitimize the election process for mayors of four mainly Serbian municipalities due on April 23.

Assembly Speaker Glauk Konjufca on Thursday called on the citizens of Kosovo’s four mainly Serbian northern municipalities not to fall prey to actions directed by Serbia to disrupt peace in that area with the election process only a few days away.

“I appeal to all citizens who live in that part not to fall prey to actions which I think are directed not from within Kosovo, but mainly from Serbia, of certain segments, of structures which they maintain and finance, whose purpose is the destabilization of Kosovo,” Konjufca told the media.

Elections are set to be held in the four municipalities of North Mitrovica, Zveçan, Leposavic and Zubin Potok.

But eight cars were burned on March 30, 31, and April 1, in the northern part of Kosovo, a police officer was attacked with an explosive on April 2 , and a person is suspected of being shot by a Kosovo Police official on Tuesday.

Konjufca emphasized that all these incidents were not random. They were intended to “delegitimize the elections and on the other side to create a false impression, with violent means, that without the [Serbia-backed] Srpska Lista party and these structures, there is no peace and tranquility in that area,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the head of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, told the Assembly’s plenary session on Thursday that the process for holding extraordinary elections in the north was not sustainable and elections should be postponed.

Konjufca on the other hand said Kosovo has the capacity to guarantee conditions for all citizens to exercise the right to vote.

“These elections have been postponed once, a second postponement would be unreasonable. We have to make sure that each institution is performing its duty, then when we receive the election results, we will enter another stage,” he emphasized.

Ten days before the extraordinary elections in the four municipalities, the Central Election Commission, CEC, has not yet approved the list of voting centres.

The CEC had not commented on the possibility of postponing the elections again due to the circumstances by the time of publication.

So far, voting has usually been done in schools, but this time the chances of that are challenging, as the local schools are controlled by the Serbian system in the north, which opposes the elections.

Alternative centres as well as police stations have also been mentioned as possible locations that could be converted into polling stations.

The number of incidents in the four municipalities in the north of Kosovo increased in April.

The Belgrade-backed Srpska Lista party, which held all institutions under the last mandate, has said it will not participate in the elections.

It demands that Kosovo withdraw special police units from the north and establish an association of Serb-majority municipalities.

On Wednesday, some Kosovo Serbs also protested over the suspected involvement of four police officials in the injury of a citizen in Leposavic on Tuesday.

The official date for holding extraordinary local elections for the four municipalities in North Kosovo was December 18 of 2022 but the date was postponed to April 23, at the request of the international community.

14/04/2023 - 12:00

14 April 2023 - 12:00

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