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Kosovo issue on referendum, possibility with several unknown variables (RTS)

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Upon his return from Kosovo, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced the possibility of a referendum where citizens could express their stances on the Kosovo issue, RTS reported on Sunday.

Referendum in Serbia is not a common occurrence, however, over the last three decades Serbian citizens took part in three referendums on different issues.

Should there be a referendum or not, it would become known after the completion of internal dialogue on Kosovo, RTS further reported.

Serbian Government official, Rasim Ljajic told RTS referendum is not an option to resolve the Kosovo issue, but a way in which citizens could freely and in a democratic manner to tell what they think about a solution proposed by politicians. According to Ljajic this is not shading away from the responsibility.

However, if a constitutional preamble referring to Kosovo need to change, then there would be a constitutional referendum that is obligatory.

“If a law on essential autonomy for Kosovo and Metohija is to be made, then a referendum must be called in order to adopt such a law. Another solution where the state territory would change, where an eventual international legal form for some other state of Kosovo would be sought, then the opinion of citizens on referendum must be heard, Faculty of Law Professor, Slobodan Orlovic told RTS.

Since 1992, citizens of Serbia have taken part in three referendums. In 1992 a referendum on constitutional amendments was held, six year later Serbian citizens were asked if they support the participation of international representatives in resolving issues in Kosovo and Metohija, and in 2006 citizens of Serbia again voted on the Constitution.

“Referendum is usually called for, when a current political establishment has intention to send a message to internal or international public on certain issues, and that is why referendums had an absolute support of more than 94 percent, sometimes even 99.9 percent,” historian from the Institute for Contemporary History, Milan Gulic told RTS.

Rasim Ljajic thinks these were orchestrated referendums that took place in the past, where a response is expected to be the same as the one the government is presenting to its citizens through campaign.

The result also very much depends on the formulation of a referendum question, RTS further writes.

“A suggestive or directive question is often asked, depending if it goes in favour of the authorities that the population vote pro or contra certain issue,” Orlovic concluded.

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