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Government of Kosovo issued administrative guideline to initiate elections in northern Kosovo

Session of the Government of Kosovo; Photo: Facebook / Albin Kurti

PRISTINA – The Ministry of Administration and Local Government of Kosovo released an administrative guideline, that enables citizens to petition for the removal of mayors in four municipalities in the north of Kosovo.  The guideline has been drafted as part of the steps taken by the Kosovo government to reduce tensions in the north.

Since the resignation of Albanian mayors is not being considered, the Government of Kosovo has requested the drafting of an administrative guideline to enable the removal of mayors.

Minister Elbert Krasniqi has announced a guideline that requires the support of 20% of voters in a municipality to initiate the removal of the local government president.

The guideline also explains the voting process for the mayor’s removal from office. The vote on this issue must be held no later than 45 days after confirmation that the 20% percent quota has been met. If 50% plus one of the citizens on the voter lists vote for the mayor’s removal, then it is considered that they have been removed.

Afterward, the result is sent to the President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, whose legal deadline is 30 to 45 days to call for extraordinary elections. However, if during the voting, 50% plus one vote is not achieved, the initiative is considered unsuccessful, and according to the administrative guideline, a similar initiative can only be undertaken after 12 months.

The drafting of this guideline was completed amid the crisis in the north of Kosovo. On 10 July, Pristina reached an agreement with the EU to reduce tensions, which, in addition to the partial withdrawal of police from municipal buildings includes holding new elections in four municipalities.

Currently, these four municipalities are led by Albanian mayors who won in April elections in which Serbs did not participate. The EU has been calling for elections since 3 June and urged Belgrade to influence the participation of Serbs in these new elections without preconditions.

Kosovo high officials have repeatedly stated that the only way to facilitate new elections could be through citizen’s petition. On the other hand, the biggest Serbian party in the north – Serbian List (SL), as well as certain opposition civic initiatives, have conditioned their participation in the elections with the withdrawal of all special units from the north.

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