A woman wearing a protective face mask prepares to cast her ballot for the Serbian parliamentary elections at a polling station in the town of Gracanica, located near Pristina, Kosovo, 21 June 2020. EPA-EFE/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

Kosovo Serbs to Vote in Serbian Elections in Serbia

Polling stations for Kosovo Serbs wanting to vote in Serbia's elections will open in four towns in Serbia, Belgrade authorities said, after Kosovo's government refused to allow them to vote in Kosovo.

Kosovo Serbs will vote in Serbia’s April 3 elections inside Serbia, Serbia’s Election Commission said on Thursday.

Polling stations will be opened for them in the towns of Bujanovac, Kursumlija, Raska and Tutin, in central, southern and southwestern Serbia.

Serbia is simultaneously holding presidential and parliamentary elections, and local elections in some municipalities.

Serbs from Kosovo with voting rights in Serbia previously voted in the municipalities in which they lived, with the OSCE dealing with the logistical process of transferring ballots to Serbia.

However, this time Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti has refused to allow votes to be cast in Kosovo, angering the country’s Western partners, who clearly saw it as an unnecessary conflict.

The French, German, Italian, British and United States ambassadors to Pristina and Belgrade, representing the so-called QUINT countries, said on Wednesday that Kosovo had “failed to demonstrate its commitment to the principle of protecting the civil and political rights of all its citizens, including members of minority groups”, by not allowing polling stations to be organised for Serbs to vote in Kosovo.

Kosovo wanted Serbia to ask it for permission to organise voting in Kosovo. However, Serbia does not recognise its former province as an independent state, and refused to do so.

After a National Security Council meeting and a meeting with Kosovo Serb representatives, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that Serbs now want to withdraw from Kosovo’s state institutions and stage protests over the issue.

“I asked [them] for additional patience and to continue these talks around April 8, 9, and that we will certainly talk about the elections; there are several options, we will prepare special polling stations in the nearest municipalities, only for people from Kosovo and Metohija, in central Serbia,” Vucic told media.

“Of course that will mean that [only] 15, 20 percent of those who planned to go [to the polls] will come out”, he added.

On January 15, Kosovo’s parliament adopted a resolution that opposed allowing voting in Serbian elections to take place on Kosovo’s territory. Kosovo Serbs voted on Serbia’s constitutional referendum on January 16 in Serbia.

25/03/2022 - 13:07

25 March 2022 - 13:07

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