Kosovo – November elections loom

For there to be any chance for a peaceful evolution of the Kosovo stalemate two things must happen –  agreements and implementation must be status-neutral, and the northern Kosovo Serbs must decide that the future of Serbs in Kosovo can be best guaranteed through such an approach.  For the November elections to be successful, everything needs to be clarified soon.    

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By Gerard M. Gallucci

No doubt there’s lots of talk in northern Kosovo about where things are and where they’re going.  But as far as I know, the NSA is not listening and not much is being said in the open.  The northerners have reacted with road blockages to the recent arrests of Kosovo Serbs by EULEX and efforts by EULEX to transport Kosovo customs officials and police to the northern boundary.  But Belgrade may have prevailed on the northerners to keep otherwise quiet while there is still much to clarify about the various “agreements” reached or still being negotiated.  Perhaps they expect – hope – that in the end Pristina will refuse to accept the sort of status-neutral implementation that the agreements will require if there is to be the chance of peaceful change.  Then Belgrade might be left off the hook and the north left as it is – still part of Serbia.  I suspect that is not the most likely outcome and that the northerners should be ready to participate in implementation – and the coming elections – as long as arrangements can be implemented in a status-neutral manner, with only notional involvement of Pristina.  But that will be their decision and perhaps an existential one.

With Pristina, it’s a mixed bag.  There have been warnings of a secret list for arrests of northern Serbs – which EULEX denies and Kosovo officials have stopped talking about.  The press there reports dissatisfaction with the new Kosovo Serb police commander in the north because he is not taking direction from Pristina but also that the Director General of the Kosovo Police has been stripped of his role in choosing the northern commander (in line with the Belgrade-Pristina agreement and Ahtisaari Plan.)  The amnesty law is on hold pending court review.  Pristina has charged Serbia with not disbanding the “parallel” institutions yet and turning local affairs over to its “liaison office” in north Mitrovica.  Kosovo officials have also said they would refuse to negotiate over the Gazivoda Reservoir or Trepca North.  Nothing has been said about the boundary of North Mitrovica – the Ibar or where?  But supposedly, progress is (still) being made on telecoms and electricity though not so much on the judiciary or implementation of the boundary agreement.

Perhaps most interesting is speculation that the possible inclusion of Serbs in Kosovo elections would add considerable “spice” to the mix of intra-Albanian politics.  Koha Ditore suggests that if Kosovo Serbs – including IDPs outside the territory – agreed to participate in local elections with one joint political list, they could win the most votes.  In theory, the potential 300,000 Kosovo Serb voters would form a faction larger than the current ruling party (Prime Minister Thaci’s PDK).  Koha noted that in the words of some “experts,” this could lead to “a result that would not reflect demographic circumstances on the ground.”  The southern Kosovo Serbs also see great opportunity in adding the northern numbers to their votes.

On the international side, KFOR has reaffirmed that it will not use force to implement political arrangements while EULEX reportedly has assumed a greater role in the north including monitoring the remaining Serbian police (MUP).  EULEX has also clarified that it will not be leaving Kosovo in 2014, only restructuring.

One can read in all this whatever one likes.  Could be that the northern Kosovo Serbs and the Kosovo Albanians are getting ready for a new phase.  Or it could be that each is still waiting for the other side to make the next big mistake.  What seems clear is that for there to be any chance for a peaceful evolution of the Kosovo stalemate two things must happen:  agreements and implementation must be status-neutral and the northern Kosovo Serbs must decide that the future of Serbs in Kosovo can be best guaranteed through such an approach.  For the November elections to be successful everything needs to be clarified soon.

Gerard M. Gallucci is a retired US diplomat and UN peacekeeper. He worked as part of US efforts to resolve the conflicts in Angola, South Africa and Sudan and as Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council. He served as UN Regional Representative in Mitrovica, Kosovo from July 2005 until October 2008 and as Chief of Staff for the UN mission in East Timor from November 2008 until June 2010. He will serve as Diplomat-in-Residence at Drake University for the 2013-14 school year.

To read TransConflict’s policy paper, entitled ‘The Ahtisaari Plan and North Kosovo’, please click here.

To read other articles by Gerard for TransConflict, please click here. If you are interested in responding to this article, please do not hesitate to contact us by clicking here.

To learn more about both Serbia and Kosovo, please check out TransConflict’s reading lists series by clicking here.

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17 Responses

  1. Fadil

    “Potential 300,000 Kosovo Serb voters”!!! Are you kidding or what?? There were only 194,000 Serbs on 1991 (Serbia’s official statistics) and knowing the negative birth rate for Serbs there could have been maximum 190,000 Serbs in Kosovo on 1999 (including children) and of course maximum of some 150,000 Serbian eligible voters. Dan is right when saying that you are hallucinating too much.

  2. Troll Hunter

    Hey Fadil, read Koha – your newspaper – 300,000 figure comes from there! It includes all the Kosovo Serbs you chased from their homes. Or will you now say two wrongs make a right?

    1. Fadil

      Troller,

      I don’t know what Koha is writing neither its relevant. I know figures of statistical office of Yugoslavia, which conducted registration of population in Kosovo during 1991. On that time Kosovo had been occupied from criminal regime of Milosevic and was under total control of Serbia.The number of Serbs on that time was, as I said 194,000. Knowing negative birth rate of Serbs, and the fact that many Serbs left Kosovo during 1990s than maximum number of Serbs on 1999 (eight years later) could be 190,000. If we exclude children from that number, maximum can be 150,000 Serbian eligible voters, which is HALF of imagined number of 300,000. These are FACTS and NOT imagination of some people.

      Here is the source of official statistical results of 1991 census.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Kosovo#1991_census

      If you want to convince us that Serbs with negative birth rate could be multiplied than you show real face of liar. So its not so good lying in 21st century.

  3. Lt Rinas

    300.000 direct voters with address of residence in Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohia, plus some 300.000 who were born at K&M with citizenship, plus some 600.000 whose parents were born at K&M who also have a citizenshim, as it is a good practice in every decent state….Gosh!!, I forgot…the K&M is not a state, so citizenship is irrelevant. What a pity, as Serbs would have majority in theirown province, it is total 1.200.000+ voters.

  4. PEN

    How amusing that in the world according to fadil everything is irrelevant. Except of course the world according to fadil. Even respected Albanian publications are irrelevant. The self appointed and self righteous guardian of that fictitious construct otherwise known as ‘Kosova’ strikes again.
    Serbia is on her way to a better future. ‘Kosova’ on the other hand isn’t going anywhere.

    1. Fadil

      I must react to this guy (PEN), who is showing constantly his impatience about real world. I must emphasize that neither individual opinions nor “respected Albanian publications” are relevant without strong evidence. In this regard the strong evidence is registration of population of Serbia conducted on 1991, for Kosovo Serbs in particular. I know, some Serbs all the time need to manipulate with numbers. They would shrink or inflate the numbers strictly by they propaganda needs. They forget, however, that we live in 21st century and hence very bad time for liars and manipulators like nickname PEN.

      As for Kosova, PEN, don’t be sure so much. It is million times better than during Serbian regime. Just to take an example. The highway, recently constructed in Kosovo, is much better than highways in Serbia. Everybody can see it by his/her own eyes so no relevance at all what individuals like PEN say. I was in Serbia recently and saw it personally. I saw very empty Serbia in it southern part and this is the “better future” Serbia – an empty territory.

  5. Pingback : Kosovo - to vote or not to vote? | TransConflict

  6. PEN

    Yes but a shiny new highway (built with the proceeds of crime by the way, which is the only economy that flourishes in ‘Kosova’) doesn’t make a nation. And who exactly uses this highway. Could it be the destitute and unemployed masses? Highly unlikely. Perhaps they fill up at one of those money laundering petrol stations littering the landscape. No foreign investment, no manufacturing, no jobs. By the way what on earth were you doing snooping around Serbia. A spot of illegal timber felling perhaps? Better watch out. You know what happened to the last gang who attempted that.

    1. Fadil

      Who cares at all about your baseless claims on how the highway is built in Kosovo. It is built by American/Turkish company and is much, much better than all highways in Serbia. This matters. Your attempts to blame Kosovo for crime are just ridiculous comparing to crime and corruption in Serbia. Just reminding you corruption affairs in Serbia – Kollubara (130 million euros stolen), ‘patriotic stealing” (more than 2 billion euros stolen), Agrobanka (more than 300 million euros stolen), “drug affairs” (more than 400 million euros stolen), NIS (valued at 2.5 billion eur, sold for just 0.4 billion eur). Darko Saric and his cocaine, tons of cocaine trafficking with Serbian criminals and billions of euros of money laundering through 600 Serbian companies. And many, many such other criminal and corruption activities in Serbia. And you blame Kosovo??!!! Are you blind or what?? You need urgently visiting ophthalmologist. But prior to that you need to go and visit closest psychiatric clinic. The psychiatrist may prescribe you some good medical drugs and you can see the real world.

  7. PEN

    There you go again little fadil throwing your toys out of the pram again. I warned you about getting hysterical. There’s a nice patch of woods near Kursumlija. If you get there fast enough you might be able to steal a couple of trees before the gendarmes discover you. Then, it’s tail between your legs back to occupied Serbia south of the Ibar.

    1. Fadil

      PEN,

      No need to go in Kursumlija. By the way it was Albanian. Isn’t it? When Austrian soldiers entered Nis and Kursmulija on 1680s (more than 300 years ago) they wrote “we entered into Albania”. I was in Serbia as a visitor and from nice road in Kosovo up to the border with Serbia, continued CATASTROPHIC road with holes in Serbian part. Just go and see and witness how catastrophic is your state – Serbia. Go an see southern part of Serbia how empty is that country and what kind of future may have an EMPTY territory. You could not see a single activity there. Serbian liberal – Latinka Perovic is right – because of people like you PEN, Serbs are going to disappear soon. Then you will see who is “little” and who is BIG.

      1. PEN

        Excellent! You’ve just proved what I’ve known all along. A nasty little Albanian nationalist posing as an inclusive liberal. Nis and Kursumlija; Albanian right? In your dreams KLA man. I’ve seen that fascist map of yours. Albania; from Epirus to Nis, right? I’ll tell you what, I’d rather see a beautiful land with proud people, than an overpopulated wasteland with unemployed supremacists like you. The cover’s blown pal. You’ve shown your true colours at last. And they’re black as sin.

        1. Fadil

          I posted what Austrian soldiers said, not me. I was born more than 300 years latter. At the moment we can be unemployed and thanks to your fascist state we can’t have much better situation but Kosovo advanced in last 5 years far more than in last the century. I told you, FREEDOM has no price.

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