Vucic Tells Kosovo Serbs Not to Boycott Election

After Serb leaders in northern Kosovo said they were quitting election-related activities in a dispute over ballots, Serbia’s Prime Minister has said that Kosovo Serbs should vote in the election. 

Ahead of general elections in Kosovo on Sunday, Serbia’s Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic, has advised Kosovo Serbs not to boycott the elections.

‘I don’t think it is smart for them not to vote,’ Vucic said in Belgrade on Tuesday, adding that he planned to talk to Serbian representatives in Kosovo to convey his views.

‘We will not leave this decision to the mayors of local municipalities to vote or on not, without previous agreement with Belgrade,’ he explained.

Vucic spoke after local leaders in Kosovo said they were abandoning the election campaign in a dispute over the composition of election committees and the presence of Kosovo state insignia on ballot papers.

They also claim that the Kosovo authorities have changed the rules to make it more difficult for minority parties to enter the Kosovo parliament.  

Earlier, the Serbian authorities appeared to support the decision of the Serbian leaders in northern Kosovo.

On Monday, the new head of the Serbian government’s office for Kosovo and Methohija, Marko Djuric, on his first visit to Kosovo, said local Serbs should vote on the basis of decisions made by their local municipalities.

Some Serbian parties in Kosovo have made it clear they will boycott the vote on June 8, whatever the position of the Serbian government.

The nationalist Democratic Party of Serbia, DSS, is one. The party’s representative in Kosovo, Marko Jaksic, said participation in the election meant recognizing the independence of Kosovo and thus violating the Serbian constitution.

‘The fact that Vucic is telling the Serbs to vote on Sunday is not surprising. This regime signed the Brussels Agreement in order to come into power,’ Jaksic told BIRN, referring to the EU-led agreement on normalisation of relations signed in 2013.

‘Serbian politicians in the Kosovo parliament will be nothing else but a mere décor,’ he added.

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