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Rajoni

Voting failure in the north of Kosovo, return to the situation before a year ago

Voting failure in the north of Kosovo, return to the situation before a year ago

There is no doubt that the boycott of the vote on April 21, for the removal of the Albanian mayors in the four Serbian-majority municipalities in the north of Kosovo, was "successful", but the question arises who won and who lost?

After the polls closed, the Central Election Commission found that the process has failed.

Lista Serbe and the official Belgrade said that "a high degree of unity of the Serbs in Kosovo has been shown", while Prishtina said that "it has fulfilled its obligations".

This vote was supposed to be the last step towards the announcement of early elections in the Serbian-majority municipalities in the north and the escalation of the situation there.

In North Mitrovica, Leposaviq, Zveçan and Zubin Potok, the Albanian mayors came to head the municipalities in May last year, because the Serbs, even then, boycotted the elections at the invitation of the Serbian List - the leading party of the Serbs in Kosovo. which has the support of Belgrade.

The months-long crisis created at that time was the reason why the international community put pressure on Kosovo to start organizing new elections, as well as on the political representatives of the Serbs to participate in such a process.

Now it seems that everything is back to square one - the Albanian mayors, who are not accepted by the majority Serb population in the north of Kosovo, remain in power.

The Speaker of the North Mitrovica Municipality Assembly, Nexhad Uglanin, estimates that there is no winner after the failed vote for the removal of the Albanian mayors. According to him, the Serbian majority community is at a loss.

"It is paradoxical that the non-majority communities take care of the majority", says Uglanin, who has been involved in the work of the North Mitrovica Municipality since its establishment in 2013.

Voting for the removal of Albanian mayors in the northern municipalities was organized based on the Administrative Instruction of the Government of Kosovo and to be successful, the "Yes" option had to be completed by 50 percent plus one voter.

However, out of about 46,000 registered voters, only about 250 people exercised their right to vote.

For Aleksandar Stojanovi? from the non-governmental organization Center for the Development of Local Environments, "everyone is a loser" after the April 21 vote.

"For a society to function, there must be a social consensus. Civil society has been calling for a long time to start a general dialogue within Kosovar society and between different political actors, so that society can reach a consensus and, finally, agree on synchronized actions, when it comes to important issues", says Stojanovi? for Radio Free Europe.

Arton Demhasaj, from the non-governmental organization "Çohu", considers that the boycott of the vote did not bring anything good to the Serbian community.

“Humbësi kryesor në të gjithë këtë është komuniteti serb që jeton në ato katër komuna, sepse ata [qytetarët] tash nuk i kanë përfaqësuesit e tyre legjitimë”, thotë Demhasaj për Radion Evropa e Lirë.

Sipas Demhasajt, fitues është presidenti i Serbisë, Alekasandar Vuçiq. Bojkotimi i votimit, shton ai, tregon se komuniteti serb, i cili jeton në katër komunat në veri të Kosovës, është i dirigjuar nga politikat e Vuçiqit.

“Kjo mendoj se ndikon negativisht te ta, për shkak se për komunitetin serb është më mirë që të dalë e të votojë dhe t’i zgjedhë përfaqësuesit e tij legjitimë, sesa të mbetet kështu i bllokuar, siç ka mbetur aktualisht”, thotë Demhasaj.

Si erdhi situata deri te bojkotimi?

Votimit për largimin e kryetarëve shqiptarë të komunave i ka paraprirë mbledhja e nënshkrimeve në kuadër të peticionit, që është mbështetur nga Lista Serbe.

Rreth dhjetë ditë para votimit, kjo parti ka njoftuar se tërhiqet nga i gjithë procesi, me arsyetimin se kryeministri i Kosovës, Albin Kurti, “ka bërë gjithçka që ai të mos ketë sukses”.

Kryetari i Listës Serbe, Zllatan Ellek, ka thënë se, sipas të dhënave zyrtare, në veri të Kosovës janë rreth 46.000 votues me të drejtë vote, por se situata në terren është ndryshe, sepse, në muajt e fundit, “rreth 15 për qind e serbëve janë zhvendosur”.

Qeveria e Kosovës i ka bërë thirrje Listës Serbe që “të mos përhapë informata të rreme, të mos mashtrojë opinionin dhe të mos bëjë presion ndaj pjesëtarëve të komunitetit serb në komunat në veri”.

Gjithashtu, bashkësia ndërkombëtare i ka bërë thirrje Listës Serbe dhe përfaqësuesve tjerë politikë të serbëve që ta rishqyrtojnë vendimin e tyre.

Branko Baroviq, nga Mitrovica e Veriut, thotë se serbët nga veriu e kanë dëgjuar gjithmonë “shtetin e tyre – Serbinë” dhe se votimi i 21 prillit ishte një “mashtrim” nga autoritetet e Kosovës.

“Pjesëmarrja është dashur të jetë 50 për qind plus një votë. Edhe sikur të dilnim të gjithë, do të humbnim. Qyteti ishte mbushur me tyta të gjata [v.j.policë]… ndërsa njerëz nuk kishte”, thotë ai.

Millan Dimiq, po ashtu nga Mitrovica e Veriut, beson se votimi nuk do të ndryshonte asgjë dhe se do të gjendej mënyra që kryetarët shqiptarë të mbeteshin në pushtet.

“Na duhet të durojmë edhe pak, por mbase do të bëhet më mirë”, thotë ai.

“Në katër komunat në veri jeton popullata serbe. Ata [kryetarët shqiptarë] nuk mund të jenë aty, nuk kanë asnjë bashkëpunim me popullin”, thotë Stefani, po ashtu nga Mitrovica e Veriut.

Mirkoja nga Leposaviqi thotë se serbët i dëgjuan përfaqësuesit e tyre politikë dhe iu përgjigjën thirrjes për bojkotim.

“Njerëzit shkojnë në komunë vetëm nëse u duhet të marrin letra dhe kjo funksionon tani për tani. Por, duhet të ketë zgjedhje, që në komunë të jenë ata që zgjidhen nga populli dhe jo dikush i emëruar nga Kurti”, thotë ai.

Further cooperation between citizens and local authorities
Ranko Krivokapiq, a resident of North Mitrovica, emphasizes that there is and will never be cooperation between Serbs and the current local authorities.

"Everything they did last year was to the detriment and against the interests of the Serbian people", says Krivokapiq.

Uglanin says that the Municipal Assembly will continue its work and that it will represent the interests of all communities, promoting coexistence.

However, he emphasizes that there are political problems on the ground.

"Citizens have turned into classical puppets for the deepening of the political crisis", he says and adds that "there is no guide" in which direction the relations between the Serbian community and the local government will move.

Stojanovi?, from the Center for the Development of Local Environments, believes that the local Serb community can cooperate with the municipal authorities in northern Kosovo in a "truncated form".

"At the moment, the municipalities themselves do not even have the personnel capacity to enable their proper functioning in all areas. This is the biggest essential problem. Municipalities do not function at full capacity, therefore they cannot be at the service of citizens", says Stojanovi?.

In November 2022, at the initiative of the Serbian List, the Serbs left the institutions of Kosovo in the north of the country, including the local administration. After the coming to power of the Albanian presidents, the employment of new workers also started, but the civil sector emphasizes that those administrations are not yet functional.

Earlier, this was confirmed for REL by the current director of the Department for Sport, Youth and Culture in the Municipality of Leposaviq, Nenad Radosavlevi?.

"We don't have qualified people for announcing the tender procedures... We have a problem, we are hiring people from other municipalities, but this will not continue for long if the Government of Kosovo does not react", said Radosavlevi?./ REL