Serbian Town Geared for Election Re-Run

06 November 2008 Novi Pazar – The head of the OSCE mission in Belgrade has called on political parties, municipal bodies and the people of Prijepolje to ensure free and fair local elections there on Sunday.

In this municipality, the local government has still not been formed after elections on May 11, so voting will be repeated.

In an open letter, Hans Ola Urstad emphasised his support to Prijepolje municipality and expressed his belief that the coming elections will happen in a peaceful atmosphere, and that they would fully express the will of citizens.
“The OSCE mission in Serbia strongly encourages political parties to respect the right of citizens to choose their representatives in an atmosphere of tolerance, in accordance with existing laws and without a fear of coercion, intimidation or any kind of retribution,” said Urstad in his open letter.
The elections in Prijepolje are also interesting for the fact that the leaders of the two strongest Bosniak (Muslim) parties and bitter opponents Sulejman Ugljanin of the Bosniak Ticket for a European Sanzdak and Rasim Ljajic of the Sandzak Democratic Party have announced the possibility of post-election cooperation.
Ljajic said Bosniaks should do everything to normalise their political relations and calm tensions.
“The reality should be accepted and people should realise that the situation in Prijepolje is completely different from the one in Novi Pazar, where there were physical and even armed conflicts,” said Ljajic.
He explained that the normalisation of relations between these two parties will not be a quick or easy process, that it will have to go step by step, and that both sides should contribute to it.
Ugljanin thinks that local elections in Prijepolje are aimed at splitting the Bosniak electorate in the municipality.
“The task of the Bosniak Ticket for a European Sanzdak is to unite Bosniaks in Prijepolje,” said Ugljanin.
The Democratic Party and Socialist Party of Serbia will appear together for the first time in the elections in Prijepolje. Their coalition also includes G17 plus and the Serbian Renewal Movement of Vuk Draskovic.
Besides this, another eight tickets were confirmed for the elections in Prijepolje, including the Democratic Party of Sanzdak, the Serbian Radical Party, the Sandzak Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Serbia-New Serbia coalition, the Bosniak Ticket for a European Sandzak, the Liberal Democratic Party, Group of Prijepolje Citizens – Party of United Pensioners of Prijepolje, and “Napred Srbijo” (Go Serbia) Citizens’ Group.

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