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Top UN official in Kosovo announces elections for 17 November

Top UN official in Kosovo announces elections for 17 November

Mr. Haekkerup interviewed today on Serbian TV
Kosovo-wide elections will take place on 17 November 2001, the top United Nations official in the province announced today in a TV and radio address aired across Kosovo and over Serbian media.

Hans Haekkerup, head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), said voters would elect a 120-member law-making Assembly. Voting would be by a proportional system, so that the parties with the most votes would fill 100 of the Assembly seats. The 20 other seats would go to non-majority communities -- 10 for Kosovo Serbs and 10 for other communities. All those 18 and over who were Kosovo residents on 1 January 1998 would be eligible to vote, including displaced people.

During the address, Mr. Haekkerup explained the new provisional institutions of self-government, which are spelled out in the Constitutional Framework for Interim Self-Government. Mr. Haekkerup said he planned to sign the document -- which he called "the most important legislative act since UNMIK was established" -- after a final review on Tuesday morning by the Kosovo members of the Interim Administrative Council.

Mr. Haekkerup outlined the main ideas within the Constitutional Framework, and described the significant powers and responsibilities that will be handed over to the Kosovar government. The work of the Assembly will be guided by a seven-member Presidency, which will suggest draft laws. The Assembly will elect a President of Kosovo, who will nominate a Prime Minister.

Mr. Haekkerup said the Constitutional Framework was a joint effort of all Kosovo communities, adding that although consensus could not be obtained in several areas, he felt "the result is a very fair compromise." He urged all communities to participate in the elections and the new government, stressing that only by participating "can the future for all communities be secured."