Monday, November 15, 2004

UNMIK rebuffs initiative for additional election for Kosovo Serbs

UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] has rejected the initiatives for organizing an additional election. These initiatives have been launched by Serb politicians in Kosova [Kosovo] and Serbian government advisers, who recently have shown signs of remorse for not participating in the 23 October election for the Kosova Assembly.

The UN administration has ruled out the possibility of organizing an election in which the Kosova Serbs would again elect their political representatives, UNMIK spokesperson Mechtild Henneke stated.

"We had the 23 October election. There will not be an additional election," was her comment on the initiatives of Kosova Serb political groups, which will not be able to participate in the institutions even if Belgrade were to change its mind and give them the green light.

Considering that a solution to this situation could be found only through elections, an adviser to the Serbian prime minister said that if the international community cared about support for the Serbs in Kosova's parliament and government, "then it would be normal to organize an additional election".

In this regard, Spokesperson Henneke emphasized UNMIK Chief Soeren Jessen-Petersen's position that seats for Serb political representatives exist in the Kosova Assembly and they will be legitimate if they participate in it.

"If they engage for the interests and well-being of Serbs, they will be their legitimate representatives," she said.

Serb politicians of Kosova who preferred not to run in the parliamentary election and whose boycott was strongly supported by Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and the Serbian Orthodox Church are now trying to justify their new position with the "consequences" of the low turnout of Serbs in the 23 October vote, not mentioning their fear of remaining outside the processes.

"Serb politicians who have participated in the election cannot be legal representatives of Serbs because of the low turnout of Serbs in the election," Milan Ivanovic, chairman of the Serb National Council [SNV], told a news conference on Thursday [11 November] in Belgrade, a day before meeting with Kostunica.

Rada Trajkovic, deputy chairwoman of this council, who qualified the low turnout of the Serbs on 23 October as "a very mature political move", now believes, after changing her mind, that an additional election would be appropriate for the Serb community of Kosova.

Those who supported the boycott have considered that Serb participation in the election would create the "idea of the existence of a multiethnic Kosova and it could have been used to justify the requests of the Albanian majority for independence."

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