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Tensions ahead of local elections in Kosovo (Vesti)

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Low blows, insults, repression, blackmail, division on “traitors” and “patriots” are the moves that the Serb parties withdraw in the fight for supremacy. Many citizens say they are in fear, they feel pressures and blackmail, and they point finger to the Serbian List, which is the absolute winner of the past Kosovo local elections, which controls payroll lists of public companies and institutions. It is the only one, among 17 Serbian political lists, supported by the official Belgrade; this is how portal Vesti reports about pre-election atmosphere announcing a series of articles on the topic.

Marko Đurić, Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, says that the vote for the Serbian List is a vote against the break-up of ties with the state of Serbia.

– The question is whose support has those who are “going against” and where their loyalty lies – Đurić repeats political message, by which Belgrade a few months ago, before the election for the Kosovo Assembly, divided the Serbian parties to the Serbian List and “Ramush’s Serbs”.

Today the Serbian List is in the coalition with Haradinaj.

Đurić explains, writes Vesti, that it is not just a matter of conflict of programs, values, relations towards politics, life, Kosovo and Serbia. Unfortunately, in the campaign, the candidates say the least about what they will do for fellow citizens. In Mitrovica, for example, the arrival of the legendary water polo player Aleksandar Šapić has turned into a circus.

While giving autographs to the children in the office of Oliver Ivanović, the candidate of the CI SDP, a group was gathered outside, which included some workers of the institutions of the state of Serbia (some of them said that they came at the invitation of the representatives of the Serbian list) with the banners “Yellow Thieves”, “Gangula, now you remember Kosovo” and the like. Since Ivanović and Dragiša Milović, candidate of the Zajedno za Zvečan, cars were burned in July, in the town of Ibar it was known that this was the beginning of the campaign and a clear message that with “the Serbian List is not to be played”, writes Vesti portal.

Candidates who did not belong to the Serbian list were massively withdrawing candidacies. Among them is Doctor Zoran Spasojević, who, only after verification of the SDP’s election list, when it is impossible to withdraw the candidacy, decided to give up and urged citizens to vote for the Serbian list, Vesti writes.

-I was the president of the municipality and participated in the elections, but this never has been recorded, says Dragiša Milović, candidate for the mayor of Zvečan, to Vesti.

And the media were at the center of the pre-election events. The first day of the campaign, the Serbian List has published the RTK2’s raw camera shot and to date it has not been explained how they came into possession of that video.

– The focus of tension and pressure about which speak more loudly the candidates and their sympathizers is in the north of Kosovo, and I fear days ahead of the vote. The atmosphere is very negative, and families are going from Kosovska Mitrovica, who want their children to live in a safer and more decent environment. Police and prosecutors do not solve reported cases, although it is evident that all previous incidents have dangerously risen tensions, estimates Tatjana Lazarević, editor of the portal Kossev.info.

The Serbian list strongly denies all accusations and states that it is a fabrication of those who have nothing to offer to the citizens. They claim that Ivanović “lies” and that their candidates are “real professionals who will not sell the Serbian people’s interests.”

Unlike the North, where those who are blackmailed do not dare still to speak to the press about the pressures that they have survived, south of the Ibar seems to have overcome that fear, the portal writes.

Vesti reports that the Independent Liberal Party of Slobodan Petrović immediately said that they would not have candidate for the Mayor of Gračanica because they cannot protect him. And remind that for the last elections, six candidates from their list were dismissed from public institutions’ jobs because they did not want to give up their candidacy.

The portal reports on Goran Marinković and Aleksandar Rakić, two workers of the Provisional Authority of the municipality of Vitina (municipalities in the Serbian system), who allegedly managed to win. The portal says that they were dismissed in September because they were candidates in front of the CI Aktiva civic Serbia, whose president was Marinković. They organized themselves and together with the supporters for more than ten days blocked the building of the Municipality of Vitina, and on October 4 they received a document returning them to work.




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