Kosovo elections: When Kosovo Serbs vote – BBC News in Serbian

Erol Kandic
Only the Serbian List has election posters in the Serb-majority Gracanica

For the ten seats guaranteed to the Serb community in the Kosovo parliament, 28 candidates running on three lists are competing – and entering the race with different ambitions.

“The Serbian list represents Serbian unity and has the goal of winning all ten seats reserved for the Serbian community, so that we have the influence we need to protect the interests of the Serbian people.”

“We had a situation when those seats shared several options, so some political representatives voted for some decisions that are not in the interest of the Serbian people,” said Dalibor Jevtic from the Serbian List, which has won all ten seats so far, which secured him the post of minister. in the Government of Kosovo.

Early parliamentary elections in Kosovo will be held on February 14, and the Serb community can count on ten seats in parliament, as many as the remaining non-Albanian communities combined.

The winner of the elections in the Serbian community also becomes part of the future ruling coalition in Kosovo.

The challengers to the Serbian List, close to official Belgrade, are coming in two columns – one led by former Kosovo Minister Slavisa Petkovic.

“We know that everything seems to run a race that was lost in advance, but in politics you can’t give up – if we all raise our hands, we haven’t done anything.

“That’s why we went to the polls, even when we knew we would lose them, but we gradually showed the people what the rule of the Serbian List means, what a ruin it is – and now people react differently,” said the leader of the Serbian Democratic Alliance (SDS). ).

Milan Dabić recently entered politics, and is already at the top of the list of the Civic Initiative for Freedom, Justice and Survival (GI SPO).

“No way of thinking is wrong, except one. It is wrong when we all think as one, because that means that no one thinks.

Let’s shuffle the cards a bit, let’s see who can give how much. “

What do the previous winners offer?

Dalibor Jevtic was Kosovo’s Minister for Communities and Returns in the government of four Kosovo prime ministers – Isa Mustafa, Ramush Haradinaj, Albin Kurti and Avdulah Hoti.

He says that his list goes to the polls with the results achieved in the difficult circumstances of cooperation with the Albanian majority.

“We have drafted a law on displaced persons that guarantees the right to return to the heirs of those who are outside their homes.

“We have launched a number of initiatives, recently closing the largest collective center in Kosovo, Brezovica, by allocating apartments to people in Strpce.”

Pristina, February 3, 2020
Getty Images
Dalibor Jevtic (second from the right in the top row) carefully followed Prime Minister Kurti’s expositions during the election of his cabinet in February 2020.

With the strong support of official Belgrade, where clear calls come from the Serbian community to vote for the Serbian List, Jevtic emphasizes that projects in Kosovo are being implemented slowly due to political instability.

“The problem is that we have elections here for a year – in an unstable political situation, you cannot carry out processes that require political stability for a long period of time.

“One should not be surprised if there is a new election process in the summer, because that is a possible scenario if a two-thirds majority is not provided for the election of a new president.”

The President of Kosovo is elected by the deputies in the Assembly of Kosovo, and a two-thirds majority is needed for the election – if the election is unsuccessful, the Assembly is dissolved.

Former President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci is answering accusations of crimes before the International Court of Justice in The Hague when he was one of the commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), so the current acting president of the Assembly of Kosovo is Vjosa Osmani.

Gracanica, February 6, 2021
Erol Kandic
The headquarters of the Serbian Progressive Party in Gracanica is decorated with the number 119, which the Serbian List has on the ballot

What challengers offer

Although the names of the lists, and even some candidates on them, are new, the challengers of the Serbian List are mostly long-term political representatives of Serbs from Kosovo.

Slavisa Petkovic used to be the Minister for Returns in the Government of Kosovo, and in the previous elections in 2019, he was part of the then Coalition “Freedom”.

“In the ten years of the rule of the Serbian List, the Serbian community has been pushed back, instead of moving forward – they have set us back in every way, economically, in education and health, especially south of the Ibar where 70 percent of Serbs live.

“It was all for the purpose of the plan that Vucic and Thaci had, to weaken the Serbian community south of the Ibar as much as possible, so that in the end everyone would accept the division, and this is an opportunity to become part of the government and change those things radically – to finance they don’t just go north where part is invested, and part is washed and returned to Serbia. “

An economist by profession, Milan Dabic worked for foreign organizations in Kosovo, and when asked what introduces him to politics, he clearly says:

“Injustice! A great, enormous injustice.

“When you see how your compatriots live, what way of life they live – we are abandoned by everyone, and I want to change things.”

Rada Trajković
Media Center Belgrade
Longtime politician Rada Trajković is the third of a total of three parliamentary candidates on the GI SPO list

Dabic says that things should be changed by the economy.

“We want to find people who will really represent Serbs from Kosovo, who will work on economic empowerment of people and improve the social map – the problem lasts a long time and it will not be possible to solve it quickly.

“I want to attract capital investment, so that people have jobs, as well as diversify production and strengthen the services sector, and all that will keep people from leaving here.”

The leader of the SDS list says that there are chances for change and that he sees them on the ground, in a conversation with the inhabitants of Serbian communities.

“The consciousness of the people has changed – there is great disappointment on the ground with Aleksandar Vučić’s policy towards Kosovo, even though brutal force is being used against people,” says Petković.

In addition to ten seats for the Serb community, other communities in Kosovo are counting on as many seats, and lists that have not had political experience so far are competing in the elections.

“The law did not provide for a civic conception of the state in Kosovo, so there are reserved seats.

“However, it is a guarantee for communities that are small that we have a voice in Kosovo’s institutions – I believe that there will be no need for them when this society becomes truly multiethnic,” said Osman Dzudzevic, who is competing for the first time with Our Initiative. Bosniak communities.

They were encouraged to participate in the elections by the struggle for access to textbooks in their mother tongue, but they say that they also face other problems.

“It is obvious that there is a trend for candidates under the auspices of the Serbian List to compete for seats in other communities.”

“But we will see after the elections where those votes came from, whether where those communities live, so that we can find a solution to bring guaranteed seats to the communities to which they really belong.”

Dalibor Jevtic says that such attacks on the Serbian List, which come from several minority lists, are part of the election campaign.

“The Serbian list is under attack, it is exposed to strong pressures and we are the target of an attack, and all this shows that we are on the right path – if all of you spoke about us in a superlative, we would wonder if we are on the right path.

“I am the head of the Ministry of Communities and I know how much that ministry does for all communities, we are a barrier to the interests of all communities and all non-majority communities address us – and we, as a political party, want to show that we share the same problems.”

Gracanica, February 6, 2021
Erol Kandic
Representatives of the Roma community are also running in the elections

Who can Kosovo Serbs cooperate with?

The Serb List, as the undisputed winner of the Kosovo elections in the Serb community so far, has been part of the governments of almost all political parties in Kosovo – from those led by former KLA commanders to those formed after the war.

“Albanians elect their representatives, and we have no influence on that – the Constitution in Kosovo guarantees that the winner in the Serbian community must be part of the institutions.

“Whether we will do it with an agreement or without an agreement depends on who will form the majority, but we will be part of the institutions so that we can influence them in the places where decisions are made, so that they are not made on our behalf, and to our detriment “, says Dalibor Jevtić.

He adds that the experiences of the cooperation so far are not the best.

“Agreements have not been respected in the past either, so we take that into account.

“In the future, there will be no agreement with Srpski list without mechanisms being made to be agreed and fulfilled.”

Behind the list of GI SPO is the political support of Nenad Rasic and his Progressive Democratic Party, and Milan Dabic states Rasic’s contribution to the potential cooperation of the Serbian community with one of the parties that are considered favorites to win the elections among Kosovo Albanians.

“Nenad Rasic agreed with Self-Determination on clear respect for the quota for minorities in Kosovo institutions – if 300 to 400 people are employed in institutions, those are great things,” says Dabic about potential cooperation with Albin Kurti’s party.

The SDS could also cooperate with the individually strongest party from the previous elections.

“We do not have a good or bad candidate for prime minister among Albanians, they have their own position on the status of Kosovo, as we have our own.

“What we can agree on with Kurti is the fight against crime and corruption, as well as balanced development – these are essential things for the Serbian community, if we leave the status aside for now.”

Slavisa Petkovic says that Serbs who are not part of the Serbian list are also aware of the differences towards the parties of the Albanian community.

“We have clear red lines towards the Albanian parties, we told everyone that we are interested in the parallel development of the Serbian community with the Albanian community – there can be no discrimination.

“There is no agreement with anyone about the interests of the Serbian community – neither with Belgrade, nor with Pristina,” concludes Petković.

Twelve years after declaring independence, Kosovo has recognized it about 100 countries. However, the exact number is not known.

Pristina cites a figure of 115 countries, a u They say in Belgrade that there are far fewer of them.

Among the European Union countries that have not recognized Kosovo are Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus, Greece and Romania, and when it comes to world powers, they are Russia, China, Brazil and India.

Kosovo has become a member of several international organizations since 2008, such as the IMF, the World Bank and FIFA, but not the United Nations.them naciand.

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