Kosovo’s leaders and UNMIK head Joachim Ruecker agreed Thursday (July 26th) that local and parliamentary elections will take place in the province in November. Although there are some concerns that elections could be an obstacle to resolving Kosovo’s status, the two processes can move together, Ruecker said after meeting with Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu. The exact date for the vote has not been selected.
Sejdiu promised that the authorities “will closely monitor the status process” to ensure the elections do not interfere. He stressed that Kosovo’s government, parliament and negotiating team will continue their work until the vote, and that there is no danger of an institutional vacuum.
Kosovo citizens interviewed by Southeast European Times expressed different views about the latest development. Pristina resident Ferdane Krasniqi said elections should be held in November so that an independent Kosovo can have a new legislature and government.
“We should have other leaders after the settlement of the status, because we don’t need the state with these leaders,” Krasniqi said, blasting the current legislature as corrupt and ineffective.
According to medical student Vjosa Gashi, elections should be held either in November or December. “We need elections, because [otherwise] we pretend to be a democratic state,” he said.
Shkumbin Munishi, a linguist, said it was a mistake to have postponed local elections last year. “That was an interruption in the consolidation of the democratic process in Kosovo,” Munishi said. “Now we hear that general and local elections will take place in November. I don’t believe that November is the right date, since it may be possible that the status process will overlap with the election process.”
In that case, he said, key decisions would have to be made by the outgoing administration, raising questions of legitimacy. “I would rather see the elections take place in October,” he said. “After that there will be more time to constitute the new parliament and the government, which will have the mandate to deal with finalisation of the status process.”