Four Serb-majority municipalities vote on removing Albanian mayors from office, analyst comment

(21 Apr 2024)
RESTRICTION SUMMARY:

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Mitrovica, Kosovo – 21 April 2024
1. Various exteriors of North Mitrovica municipality building
2. Close of signage
3. Mid of Kosovo police officers
4. Wide of interior of polling station
5. Close of security camera
6. Mid of election officials
7. Close of ballot box
8. Close of poster
9. Mid of officials
10. SOUNDBITE (Serbian) Ognjen Gogic, political analyst:
”The position of the Serb party is for this referendum to fail, otherwise, if they called the Serb population to take part, then this referendum would get (a level of) legitimacy. That’s why the position of the Serb party is to boycott this referendum knowing that the final result will not be satisfying for the legitimacy to the referendum. As far as the (Serb) citizens are concerned, they with no doubt want to change the mayor but no one told them what they should do and how they should do it.”
11. Close of posters
12. SOUNDBITE (Serbian) Ognjen Gogic, political analyst:
”So, the situation will remain as it is, the actual mayor will stay in their function and there will be no more pressure from the international community for the mayors to resign and with this the mayors will feel comfortable with the result. They will continue to do what they did until now but with more confidence. This will only create a bigger gap between the local institutions and the local population.”
13. Close of ballot papers
14. Tilt up on officials
15. Wide of interior of polling station
16. SOUNDBITE (Serbian) Skender Sadiku, Deputy Chairman of the North Mitrovica municipality assembly:
”With the boycott there is no gain, the citizens need to be proactive with the option of voting they would have three choices (to remove the mayor, to keep the mayor, or to make the voting not count) and with the boycott they give only one option and that is the option of boycott.”
17. Wide of sign
18. Wide of flags
19. Wide of exteriors of North Mitrovica municipality building
STORYLINE:
A political analyst in Mitrovica shared his projections of the effects of a possible boycott on voting in four Serb-majority municipalities on removing their ethnic Albanian mayors from office following last year’s mayoral elections.

"The position of the Serb party is to boycott this referendum knowing that the final result will not be satisfying for the legitimacy to the referendum," said political analyst Ognjen Gogic.

Voting began on Sunday morning.

"The situation will remain as it is, the actual mayor will stay in their function and there will be no more pressure from the international community for the mayors to resign and with this the mayors will feel comfortable with the result," Gogic predicted.

The referendum — supported by the West — is an attempt to diffuse tensions between Kosovo and its neighboring Serbia as both countries vie to join the European Union.

However, Kosovo’s main ethnic Serb party, Srpska List which has close ties with Belgrade, has called to boycott Sunday’s poll.

The call for boycott may take the vote to a failure.

Some 46,500 residents are expected to vote in 47 polling stations and for the mayors to step down, a majority vote is needed.

In June, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti offered to hold new elections in North Mitrovica, Zvecan, Leposavic and Zubin Potok if 20% of the electorate in the municipalities supported a petition for the polls.

Residents voted in favor of the petition in January,

Serbia has backed calls for the mayors to step down.

Tensions between the two countries remain high.

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Author: admin