Nikolić urges Serbs to vote in local Kosovo polls

President Tomislav Nikolić has called on Serbs in Kosovo to go to the polls on November 3, and on their representatives to cooperate with the government.

Source: Tanjug

That is the only way to live better, Nikolić was quoted as saying on Thursday during a meeting in Belgrade with representatives of Serbs from central Kosovo.

“Cooperate with the Serbian government, there is no one else to cooperate with, and I am telling you that you will live better,” Nikolić said.

“Our proposal is a single Serb list that should win in all constituencies and have support from the entire world,” he said during the meeting at the Presidency building, in which Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Aleksandar Vulin also took part.

“It is an utter lie that voting in the local elections means recognition of Kosovo's independence,” the president said, adding that someone is advancing this thesis for the sake of their personal ideology, and not in the interest of Serbs in the province.

“The elections, Brussels negotiations, everything is taking place in line with the Serbian parliament's decision, and any attempt that leads to independence is being nipped in the bud,” the Serbian president said.

Nikolić noted that for the decision to go to the polls, Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija will have all possible assistance from Serbia, but if they opt for boycott, they will have to take on the responsibility for such a move.

As Tanjug learned, the Serbs living in municipalities south of the Ibar River are unanimous in their intention to vote in the local elections scheduled for November 3.

Most of these municipal heads have been preparing for participation in the elections for quite some time, and after the meeting with the Serbian president, they plan to register a civic initiative or group of citizens at the central electoral commission in Priština.

"North Kosovo Serbs will back state policy"

Advisor to the Serbian president Marko Đurić said on Tuesday that intensive talks are being held with the Serbs in northern Kosovo, voicing confidence that they will also back the state's position on voting in local election in the province.

After a meeting between Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić and representatives of the Serbs south of the Ibar River, Đurić said that he is sure that some of those in the north that are against casting a ballot in the local elections will be responsible enough to follow the state policy.

“I do not expect that all those who are being guided by ideology or party affiliation and do not accept the state policy will change their stance, but I am convinced that a great majority of Kosovo and Metohija citizens, especially in areas in the north, will follow the state's policy,” Đurić said.

He said that not a single individual, regardless of how irresponsible they may act, will not be able to affect the elections.

Commenting on Prime Minister Ivica Dačić's statement that all officials in Kosovo and Metohija who were appointed by the Serbian government but do not act in line with the state policy will be relieved of their duties, Đurić voiced expectation that the government will “consider all options”.

The meeting in Belgrade on Tuesday ended in an agreement to participate in the forthcoming local elections in Kosovo with a single Serb list, Đurić said.

During the meeting with representatives of 25 municipalities in Kosovo and heads of all districts we all agreed to go to the elections with a united Serb list that will be backed by the institutions in Serbia, Đurić told reporters.

He said that municipalities that will be formed based on the elections will not be part of “an independent state of Kosovo” but rather Serb municipalities through which representatives of the Serb people will be able to assert their rights in an internationally recognized way.

“All those who, in the name of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government, are now encouraging the Serb people to take to these elections as allegedly supporting Kosovo's independence, should be aware that the outcome of these elections will not be a recognition of Kosovo's statehood and that the elections will be conducted based solely on the Brussels agreement and the plan for its implementation,” Đurić said.

He said that the meeting discussed all the details and the great many challenges that lie ahead - issues such as the supervision of voting, the voters list, and the extremely tight deadlines making it difficult to accomplish everything that is required before November 3, the day of holding the local elections.

Đurić stressed that the capacity of the state and the people will be put to use to help the Serbs in Kosovo get self-government in the municipalities where they make up the majority of the population.

He explained that the aim is to make sure the Serb people in Kosovo gain much needed authority and credibility in the eyes of the international institutions and so be in a position better than the current one, in which their institutions are not universally accepted.

"No dilemma"

Head of the Kosovo District Vladeta Kostić said Tuesday that the Serbs south of the Ibar River had no dilemma whatsoever about whether to vote in the local elections in Kosovo and Metohija on November 3.

Kostić told reporters that at a meeting in Belgrade held Tuesday, representatives of central Kosovo and Serbia’s most senior government officials reached an agreement concerning the participation in the local elections.

He pointed out that the Serbs south of the Ibar were never in two minds about whether to go to the polls as under the agreement on the normalization of relations with Priština signed in Brussels on April 19, Serbia is required to do that.

Kostić said that it is thanks to the Serbian government that the Serbs south of the Ibar were able to stay in Kosovo, adding that that it is important that the meeting assured them that the Serbian government will back a unified Serb list in local election and that they will give them all the necessary support.

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