| 10:31 - 15.11.2013

Authorities Ready For Trouble in North Kosovo Polls

Police are on the alert for troublemakers trying to disrupt a repeat round of local elections in mainly Serbian north Kosovo.

Ahead of a re-vote in three polling centres in mainly Serbian northern Kosovo, security authorities say they will increase their presence to ensure that the violence that marred the November 3 local elections is not repeated.

The Central Election Commission, CEC, and the OSCE said all necessary preparations had been made so the process runs smoothly.

At the same time, they stressed the need for the security authorities “to do their job” during the partial repeat of votes on Sunday.

“We have asked the security authorities to ensure a secure environment in three polling centres,” Florian Dushi, member of the CEC, said.

Unknown assailants in the mainly Serb far north of Kosovo attacked three polling stations in northern half of the divided town of Mitrovica, causing several polling stations to close early.

Due to security threats, the OSCE mission had to withdraw its staff from the attacked polling centres on November 3, but on Sunday it will send some 60 members back for the repeat vote.

Nikola Gaon, OSCE spokesperson, said people know what happened last time round. “We are in close contact with the security authorities and we count on them to secure the process,” he said.

The Kosovo Police, which deployed six officers in and around each polling centre in the north on election day, two weeks ago, says it has drawn up an action plan for Sunday.

“As repeat elections on November 17 will only be held in three polling centers, enough police will be on the ground,” Baki Kelani, Kosovo Police spokesperson assured Balkan Insight.

The outcome of the election in the north is considered a crucial element of the EU-brokered deal in April on normalizing relations between Pristina and Belgrade.

Kosovo last held local elections in 2009. However, encouraged by the government in Serbia, most people in the north ignored them. balkaninsight

Arivisti Company