Srpska Lista launching their election campaign in Gracania, June 2, 2017. | Photo by Armenija Zajmi/ Beta

United Serbs?

As the June 11 elections approach, Kosovo Serbs have never been as divided as they are now. And who’s to trust five ‘Serbian Lists’ to represent the interests of the community?

Only a few days are left before elections for the Kosovo Assembly. On June 11, Kosovo Serbs,  among others, will be able to choose between five lists of Serbian representative candidates. Up until a few days ago, there was one Serbian list – Srpska Lista –  and before the announcement of elections we expected to have no more than two. But, judging from how things are going with Serbian representatives in these elections, we can only expect the impossible and hope for nothing.

The position of Kosovo Serbs was always an interesting one: almost every year we take part in some sort of elections, whether Serbian or Kosovar. On numerous occasions in the past years, the participation of Serbs in the Kosovo Assembly elections was questioned, but ultimately, we always concluded that participation may lead to greater impact in the struggle for the rights of Serbs in Kosovo. Defending this stand, Srpska Lista is generally thought of as a party that represents Serbs and their positions. Nevermind that in multiple occasions–perhaps in most cases–this certainly was not the case, at least there was an illusion that there is a single party that we can somewhat believe in. Or we at least hoped so.

However, after the announcement of elections for the new legislature of the Kosovo Parliament, all hope for a unified Serbian list in Kosovo vanished. Even the last bit of hope in and expectation from local politicians was lost when we understood that instead of being united in politics we have politicians that are united only in preserving their individual interests. Instead of a clear determination of Serbs in the upcoming elections, we have an absurd situation that we were subjected to by the recent conflicts of Serbian political representatives.

Leposavic is a small municipality in the north of Kosovo. We rarely get media attention, but when we do, it is for unpleasant reasons. This time  around was no exception, as in the midst of the campaign, Leposavic became the topic of international media reporting due to the chaos caused by local politicians. So much media coverage was taken up in Kosovo and Serbia by these events that it is not necessary to dwell on the topic much. Political party division, blaming other parties for betraying Serbian interests, shootings, arrests… all of it in Leposavic! Sometimes you get the impression that all political accusations in this small town look more like national level politics than those of a small place with merely a few thousand inhabitants. Unfortunately, at some point, all of this becomes so silly that it is difficult to take such political activities seriously.

Many other questions derive from the political activity of our representatives in Kosovo. First, should we as an electoral body continue to trust any of them? Reasons for  not trusting them are numerous. These are politicians that speak of the defense of Republic of Serbia in Kosovo, while being members of Kosovo Parliament. Is this not contradictory? I don’t have anything against the participation of Serbs in Kosovo institutions because, in reality, this is the only way of representing Serbian interests. But, in this case, establishing the policy of defending Serbia in Kosovo is hypocrisy. Secondly, what happened to the talk of unified Kosovo Serbs? Who will still ‘fall’ for that story when political representatives are more divided than ever? Who will believe that someone is defending the interests of Kosovo Serbs when our politicians are exclusively concerned with their personal interests? Who will they be able to convince that having five Serbian lists in Kosovo is a matter of representing Serbs living in Kosovo and not a matter of personal desires?

The situation we have been brought into is sad. Some still dare to speak of the Association of Serb Municipalities. What association are they talking about? Will those that are as divided as never before establish it? I would not believe them now. Serbs are now too divided, and politicians managed to divide us when they are supposed to represent the interests of our community. In a way, believing that our political representatives are right, we’ve come to the problem that has always characterized us: disunited because of personal interests. In awaiting June 11, it is unclear how much Serbian politicians will be able to attract Kosovo Serbs to the voting centers. Facing a ridiculous situation with tedious quarrels waged on daily basis between their representatives and fear for their own survival, Kosovo Serbs perhaps will nevertheless go out and vote. Not in large numbers, but substantial nevertheless. One thing is for sure, though, their choice will not be based on any political party program or stances, on different representatives, or expectations for any better future.   

08 June 2017 - 09:47

Nevena Radosavljevic

08/06/2017 - 09:47

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Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.