Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Top News
Top News

Kosovo Serbs Boycott Referendum On Ethnic Albanian Mayors

A Kosovo election official carries a voting material at a polling station in the municipality building in North Mitrovica, Kosovo Sunday, April 21, 2024. Residents of four Serb-majority municipalities

Residents of four Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo overwhelmingly boycotted a vote on removing their ethnic Albanian mayors from office following last year's mayoral elections. The referendum, supported by the West, aimed to ease tensions between Kosovo and neighboring Serbia as both countries seek to join the European Union.

The main ethnic Serb party, Srpska Lista, called for a boycott of the poll, resulting in only 253 out of 46,556 registered voters casting their ballots in all four municipalities. No ballots were cast in one municipality, Zvecan.

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti offered to hold new elections in the municipalities if 20% of the electorate supported a petition for the polls. In January, residents voted in favor of the petition.

Referendum aimed to ease tensions between Kosovo and Serbia for EU accession.
Serbs boycott vote to remove Albanian mayors in Kosovo.
Low voter turnout with only 253 out of 46,556 registered voters casting ballots.
Kosovo Prime Minister offers new elections if 20% of electorate supports petition.
Ethnic tensions rise as Kosovo Serbs clash with security forces over mayoral elections.

When ethnic Albanian mayors assumed office last May, Kosovo Serbs clashed with security forces, injuring 93 troops. Serbia has backed calls for the mayors to step down.

The boycott leaves the status quo in northern Kosovo unchanged, impacting EU-facilitated negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia. Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani accused Belgrade of pressuring Serbs in Kosovo to boycott the referendum.

Despite tensions, Kosovo took a step toward joining the Council of Europe, facing Serbian opposition. Belgrade authorities recently delayed Kosovars at border checkpoints, prompting criticism from the U.S. and EU.

Kosovo announced its first nationwide census since 2011, including the ethnic Serb minority in the north. The Srpska List party denounced the census, alleging it was a ploy by Kurti's government to expel Serbs.

Another point of contention was Pristina's ban on ethnic Serbs using the Serbian dinar in Kosovo's Serbian-run institutions.

The U.S. and EU are working to revive dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade, crucial for their EU accession prospects. The Western Balkan countries' alignment with the West is vital amid Russia's actions in Ukraine.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.