Ljubljana stock indices close in red
Croatia’s share indices snap four-day winning streak
Foreign tourist arrivals to Bosnia up 27% y/y in Oct
Foreign cruise ship journeys to Croatia increase y/y in Jan-Oct
Bulgarian share indices keep ascending, Eurohold paces gainers
Nov 17, 2007 08:36 EEST
November 17 (SeeNews) - The U.N.-run southern Serbian province of Kosovo on Saturday started voting to elect mayors and councillors and a new parliament, which is expected to unilaterally declare independence after status negotiations with Belgrade and the international community end on December 10.
One-hundred-and fifty international observers will monitor the vote, backed by nearly 30,000 domestic monitors.
NATO’s 16,500-strong Kosovo force of police and soldiers will be on high alert during the poll in the volatile province.
In the third parliamentary and fifth local election since becoming a U.N. protectorate in 1999, Kosovo will for the first time vote with an open list system, allowing voting for specific candidates instead of just for a party.
The number of voters is around 1.5 million, including the Kosovo Serb minority. Some 160,000 will vote for the first time.
Voting at the 621 polling stations began at 0700 local time (0600 GMT) and ends at 1900 local time (1800 GMT).
The province will vote with three lists – for the new Prime Minister, for assembly members and for mayors.
Kosovo is to elect 120 members of its parliament: 100 seats are for the ethnic Albanians, 10 seats are reserved for Kosovo's Serb minority and 10 for other minorities. The mayors and councillors of 30 municipalities will also be elected.
Since 1999, when NATO bombing forced ex-Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic to halt a crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians which Western powers said was leading to the repression of civilians, Kosovo has been under U.N. rule.
The ethnic Albanian majority insists on independence, while Serbia says it will not give more than broad autonomy.
Kosovo’s Serb minority, which makes some 9% of the 2.1 million population, has agreed with calls from Belgrade to boycott the vote, as it did in the previous two parliamentary elections.
On December 10, a so-called Troika of international mediators is due to present its proposals on Kosovo's future status to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders have said that if necessary they will unilaterally declare independence after this date.
You have run out of free articles this month.
Sign up in for
and get ten (10) free articles per month or sign up for
and get unlimited access.
Browse our free newsletter options