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Kosovo leaders agree to new elections

Kosovo leaders agree to new elections

Kosovo’s President, Vjosa Osmani, and its Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, confirmed that they are open for new mayoral elections in four Serb-dominated municipalities in the north of the country, in line with a request from Western officials.

Kurti said on Thursday, after talking with three US senators, that “removing violent mobs in front of municipality buildings and full implementation of the Brussels Agreement is the way toward de-escalation until new elections”.

He confirmed he also spoke with US Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer on de-escalation measures.

Kurti has continued to call Serb protesters in the north “a mob” and “a fascist militia” since the outbreak of violent clashes on Monday.

Meanwhile, protesters gathered again in front of the municipality building in Zvecan/Zvecane on Friday morning. Some carried slogans saying: “We are not criminals, we just want freedom”, and: “You will not drive us out of our homes”.

Four days after violence erupted in three of the northern municipalities against newly-elected ethnic Albanian mayors who were installed last Friday under police guard, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the EU urged new elections.

During the second European Political Community EPC summit in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, Kosovo President Osmani met Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic under the auspices of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell, and with Macron and Scholz present.

After the meeting, Borrell said: “We have three clear requests: new local elections now, ensuring the participation of Kosovo Serbs and starting the work to establish the Association of Serbian Majority Municipalities within the EU-facilitated Dialogue”.

“Failure to do so will have serious consequences for our relations,” Borrell added on Twitter.

Osmani previously told the media in Chisinau that legal procedures make it possible to hold elections.

“I informed them [European leaders] that our legislation allows this possibility and we are ready to consider it based on the law on elections of Kosovo,” Osmani said.

Macron announced previously that Germany and France had urged both Kosovo and Serbia to back new elections in the north of Kosovo “as soon as possible”.

Reuters news agency reported that Macron said he and Scholz had given Kosovo and Serbia a week to respond to their proposals.

Local Serbs deny the legitimacy of the recent elections that they boycotted en masse, and in which only 3.47 per cent of people voted.

The protests started last Friday, which was the first day of work for the newly elected mayors of Zubin Potok, Leposavic/Leposaviq and Zvecan/Zvecane, when dozens of citizens and policemen were injured.

Source: Balkan Insight