On November 3rd, Kosovo held an important municipal election, in which people from all of Kosovo’s communities, throughout the country, participated.
On November 3rd, Kosovo held an important municipal election, in which people from all of Kosovo’s communities, throughout the country, participated. The governments of Serbia and Kosovo have been working constructively together in the context of the EU-facilitated Dialogue, and resolving differences on preparations for these elections has been a major aspect of meetings in Brussels.
The November 3rd elections were generally conducted in an orderly, transparent, and peaceful manner, a marked improvement over prior elections in Kosovo. The number of voters exceeded the usual turnout for most European local elections, including in minority communities.
Unfortunately, hardline elements attacked three polling centers in North Mitrovica, annulling the results in those centers and necessitating a re-run. The disruptions on November 3rd were carried out by a small number of individuals who sought to undermine the progress these elections represent. The United States joined others in the international community in condemning the violence that took place in North Mitrovica that day and called on the relevant authorities to investigate and bring those responsible to justice.
On November 17th, the OSCE facilitated a re-run of elections in the three polling stations that had been attacked. Kosovo Police, supported by EULEX and NATO’s K-FOR, ensured a secure voting environment. “Despite intimidation and violence aimed at blocking the democratic process, the people of northern Kosovo exercised their right to choose legitimate representatives…,” said Marie Harf, Deputy Spokesperson at the State Department. The United States was encouraged by significant turnout and safe, orderly voting procedures at polling centers in North Mitrovica during the reruns.
On December 1st, voters will head to the polls again in many municipalities throughout Kosovo to decide run-off contests. The State Department urges “all parties to ensure the next phase of the election process is conducted in a peaceful, free and fair manner.” Successful completion of these elections will mark yet another step toward a more stable, democratic and prosperous region.
For Kosovo, these elections have particular significance. “As a young democracy, Kosovo deserves elections that reflect the genuine will of its citizens . . . . Though more work remains, these elections have laid the foundation for political leaders to realize genuine electoral reform. They have also demonstrated that Kosovo is capable of conducting future elections that are consistent with international standards and its European aspirations.”