Kosovo: Parties begin municipal election campaign

Pristina, 15 October (AKI) - Kosovo's political parties, including some minority Serbs, on Thursday officially started a campaign for municipal elections, due to take place on 15 November. The elections are the first since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia last year.

In the election, people will select local leaders in 36 municipalities. Thirty-seven parties and coalitions of ethnic Albanians and 21 lists representing minority Serbs are due to run.

Other minorities in Kosovo will be represented by another 16 electoral lists.

Belgrade, which opposes Kosovo's independence and is fighting a diplomatic battle to retain control over the territory has called for a boycott of the election, saying conditions were not ripe for a fair election.

Though most major Serbian parties heeded a call for boycott, some marginal Serb parties and individuals have decided to run, only to be branded by their co-nationals as “traitors”.

In Kosovo, there are five municipalities with a Serb majority.

Most of Kosovo's Serbs, who are outnumbered by ethnic Albanians by 17 to one, boycotted parliamentary and local elections almost 100 per cent two years ago. However, some local Serb parties participated and joined Kosovo's political institutions.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in his latest report on Kosovo, appealed to the participants to refrain from “war-mongering rhetoric” which could provoke violence that has at times accompanied Kosovo's elections.

The UN Security Council will discuss Ban’s Kosovo report later on Thursday.


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