Municipal Elections in Kosovo Attract Serb Voters for the First Time

By Lippman, Peter | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January/February 2014 | Go to article overview

Municipal Elections in Kosovo Attract Serb Voters for the First Time


Lippman, Peter, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Since it declared independence in 2008, Kosovo's standing as an independent state has been recognized, at last count, by some 105 nations. For that matter, Facebook, which has almost as many members as China has citizens, just upgraded Kosovo's status from "it's complicated" to "country."

But statehood requires more than recognition by other countries. Also essential for a democracy is the ability to hold orderly, free and fair elections. While Kosovo is making gains in this area, the country-wide municipal elections that took place Nov. 3 were still quite chaotic in some parts.

The recent elections were the first organized by the Kosovo authorities in which Serb residents of Kosovo participated since independence. Credit for this development is due to the April 2013 Brussels agreement between Kosovo and Serbia (see December 2013 Washington Report, p. 32), which is an important step toward Serbia's eventual membership in the European Union: such cooperation demonstrates that Serbia can work with its neighbors in a peaceful and constructive manner. The agreement also opens the door a crack for Kosovo to undertake long-term negotiations with the EU over membership.

"Normalization" is the watchword in the ongoing process of negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia. It is a tricky affair, since no Serbian leader can afford publicly and officially to relinquish Serbia's political control of Kosovo by recognizing its former province's independence-even though most of Serbia's control vanished in mid-1999 as a result of the NATO intervention. However, the Brussels agreement constitutes a de facto recognition of Kosovo's independence.

Given the imperative for normalization, for the first time the leaderships of both Kosovo and Serbia had a stake in cooperating to promote the smooth conduct of the elections, and they made this happen in unprecedented ways. Although there was some obstruction to the orderly implementation of the first round of the elections, the two countries' ultimate cooperation was a firm step in the normalization of their relationship.

As a result of the 1998-1999 war in which Kosovo separated from Serbia, Serb residents of Kosovo came to be concentrated in enclaves in various parts of the country. A number of those enclaves were scattered throughout Kosovo, but a concentration of four Serb-dominated municipalities centered around the northern section of the now-divided city of Mitrovica. That enclave shares a border with Serbia. Over the years since 1999, this Northern Mitrovica enclave has maintained a near-complete political and economic separation from Albanian-dominated Kosovo, and remained under the strong political tutelage of Belgrade.

All this began to change with the Brussels agreement; although Belgrade still aspires to have political influence among Serbs in Kosovo, its overriding ambition at present is to smooth relations with the European Union in the interest of eventual membership.

In the recent elections, the Serbian government supported the main Kosovo Serb party, the Serbian Civil Initiative, which ran candidates in the 10 municipalities where there are still Serb residents. Belgrade actively promoted participation in the elections as a way to enfranchise Serbs within Kosovo's political system. Such a development is necessary in order to protect the political power of Kosovo's Serbs, Serbian leaders warned; otherwise, Albanian mayors could end up running some of the mainly Serb-inhabited enclaves.

In the majority of Kosovo's 38 municipalities-those dominated by Albanians-the entrenched political parties ran their customary campaigns, with the only real opposition coming from Vetëvendosje, a party of young activists that first participated in the 2010 elections. Vetëvendosje has gained popularity by campaigning against the regime of corruption that dominates Kosovo politics. The party also has distinguished itself by stridently opposing negotiations and cooperation between Serbia and Kosovo, at times pointing out agreements that constitute violations of Kosovo's sovereignty in favor of extraterritorial influence by Serbia. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Municipal Elections in Kosovo Attract Serb Voters for the First Time
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.