Kosovo Opposition Party Objects to Serb Election Candidates

At a meeting of Kosovo’s Central Election Commission on Tuesday, Vetevendosje refused to vote in favour of certifying candidates from the Srpska Lista party to run in the May 19 polls, arguing that three of them had breached the constitution by resigning as mayors of the same municipalities in which they want to run for office again.

“I am not against minorities in Kosovo, but in this specific case we understand that these elections derive from an extraordinary situation. Three out of four [Srpska Lista] candidates are former mayors of these municipalities,” said Adnan Rrustemi, a Vetevendosje representative on the Central Election Commission.

“We have to note that these three candidates acted in opposition to the constitutionality of Kosovo when they resigned from their mandates,” he added.

Rrustemi said that the issue of the certification of candidates should be referred to the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court to ensure all candidacies are legal and constitutional, Koha Ditore newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The pre-term local elections in four Serb-majority municipalities in the north of Kosovo were called after their mayors resigned in November in protest against Pristina’s imposition of tariffs on Serbian imports.

Srpska Lista, which is strongly backed by Belgrade, is the only party representing Serbs that has applied to run in the elections, which means it has high chances of winning. Two ethnic Albanian parties, Vetevendosje and the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, have also applied to run.

Stefan Veselinovic, a Central Election Commission member from Srpska Lista, said that his party had the right to nominate whoever it thought fit, and accused Vetevendosje of launching a political attack on the Belgrade-backed Serb party.

“I think there is no place for politics here,” Veselinovic added.

Kosovo’s other main opposition party, the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, also said it did not support Vetevendosje over the issue.

“The ethical and political aspect of having these candidates back in the elections might be problematic, but we do not have any legal obstacle,” said the LDK’s representative on the election commission, Florian Dushi.

Candidates from Srpska Lista need two votes from Vetevendosje’s representatives on the election commission in order to get certification to run in the elections.

Tuesday was the last day on which candidates could be certified, unless the commission decides to extend the deadline.

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