5 November 2013 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is encouraged by the initial assessments of the municipal elections held on 3 November throughout Kosovo, while condemning the attacks perpetrated against a number of polling stations in northern Mitrovica, his spokesperson said today.
Sunday’s polls were considered crucial for strengthening peace and security in Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in February 2008 – a move not recognized by Belgrade – following years of ethnic tensions. Initial assessments reportedly said the polls were a success, despite the intimidation and attacks.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban welcomed “the active participation of the Kosovo population, including the Kosovo Serbs, in these elections which is a key element of implementation of the 19 April agreement between Belgrade and Pristina.”
At the same time, the Secretary-General condemned the attacks perpetrated against a number of polling stations in northern Mitrovica, including physical threats against election officers and voters, as well as the destruction of electoral materiel.
“In calling for an immediate investigation of these attacks, the Secretary-General strongly deplores any attempts to undermine the electoral process and the fundamental right of people to express their democratic will,” said the statement.
“The Secretary-General calls on all concerned to ensure the peaceful completion of the electoral process in an atmosphere free of intimidation and violence.”
The violence was condemned earlier this week by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Farid Zarif, who urged everyone involved with the elections to remain calm, and for all residents to respect the democratic process and cooperate with local and international law enforcement.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue