Kosovo PM open to redoing elections after violent protests

Kosovo PM open to redoing elections after violent protests
Опубликовано: Friday, 02 June 2023 11:16

Kosovo and Serbia are at odds — again — as Kosovo Serbs protest recent local elections.

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti is open to organizing new municipal elections in northern Kosovo, a spokesperson said, after violent protests caused tensions to spike between Kosovo and Serbia.

Kurti made the suggestion as officials in Europe and the U.S. mount pressure on Kosovo to re-run the contests, which ethnic Albanians won after the Kosovo Serb population boycotted the polls.

Late Thursday, Kurti tweeted that Serbia must help reduce tensions in order to secure new elections, calling for “an immediate end to violence by Belgrade-sponsored mobs against security officers until new elections in those municipalities.”

The remark, a government spokesperson told POLITICO, was meant to show “an openness to new elections.”

Kosovo — which declared its independence in 2008 but is not recognized by Belgrade — and Serbia have long been at odds over the rights of ethnic Serbs living in northern Kosovo.

Those tensions have resurfaced in recent days after Pristina sought to install ethnic Albanian mayors in four northern Kosovo cities with a predominantly ethnic Serb population.

The Kosovo Serbs sat out the elections over unmet demands for more autonomy, resulting in a 3.5 percent turnout rate. When the mayors later arrived to take office, violent clashes broke out between police and Serb protesters, leaving dozens of people wounded, including NATO soldiers deployed to contain the demonstrations.

During a gathering of European leaders on Thursday in Moldova, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for Kosovo to hold fresh elections after meeting with leaders from Serbia and Kosovo.

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