The United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) today kick started the process to conduct new local elections in the province, which the world body has run since western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid ethnic fighting.
Principal Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Kosovo Steven Schook today signed an Executive Decision which authorizes the Central Elections Commission to start technical preparations for the election of new mayors, municipal assembly members and members of the national assembly.
“As Special Representative Joachim Rücker has said, it is UNMIK's position that the democratic process in Kosovo should move forward,” said Mr. Schook. “The legislative framework for the holding of elections is being finalized and will be promulgated before the end of this month.”
At the same time, he cautioned that the elections should not interfere with the resolution of final status – an issue that is the subject of a new round of negotiations launched by a “troika” of representatives of the United States, Europe and the Russian Federation.
“We will be monitoring the negotiation process very closely over the coming months,” Mr. Schook said.
The Executive Decision came a day after he started a new round of visits to Serb-speaking villages in the south of Kosovo. On Wednesday, Mr. Schook urged the Kosovo Serbs in Gorazdavac to fully participate in the democratic process.
He said that Mr. Rückerwould announce next month the specific date for the elections.