Northern Kosovo ready for referendum

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- Everything is ready for a referendum on Priština institutions in four northern Kosovo towns, said Referendum Commission member Ljubomir Radović.

He told Tanjug that the referendum will be held on February 14 and 15 in Zubin Potok, Zvečan and Kosovska Mitrovica and on February 15 in Leposavić.

Radović noted that 35,500 ballots had been printed and that a certain number of them were in the Albanian language. Citizens will vote at 82 polling stations and will be able to vote “yes” or “no” to the question “Do you accept the institutions of the so-called Republic of Kosovo?”.

He added that it was possible that bad weather conditions could affect the turnout but stated that he was certain it would be “satisfactory”.

Preliminary results will be released on Wednesday evening and the final results will be known on February 19.

Radović pointed out that UNMIK and OSCE representatives will be invited to monitor the referendum and that the International Crisis Group representatives had already expressed readiness to monitor the voting.

According to him, representatives of international missions in Kosovo have been informed about the referendum and the Commission expects KFOR and Kosovo police to provide safety to all citizens on February 14 and 15, just like any other day.

EULEX representatives have stated that they have no official stance on the referendum in northern Kosovo, adding that the mission was not a political mission but technical one.

KFOR Commander Erhard Drews has warned, however, of possible conflicts if ethnic Albanians felt provoked by the referendum in the north.