Fri, 20 Sep 2019

The main Kosovo Serb political party has won the early mayoral elections held in four predominantly ethnic Serb municipalities in northern Kosovo, according to partial results cited by a coalition of nongovernmental organizations.

The four mayors of the ethnic Serb municipalities of North Mitrovica, Zvecan, Leposavic, and Zubin Potok resigned in November, just days after the Pristina government imposed a 100 percent tax on imports from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Democracy in Action coalition of NGOs which monitored the election process said that with 85 percent of the vote counted, Serbian List candidates garnered more than 90 percent of the vote in each of the four municipalities.

Electoral authorities said turnout was more than 42 percent, and that the voting went smoothly and without any problems.

The elections in the four municipalities were called by Kosovo President Hashim Thaci last month.

Kosovo's government said the tax that triggered the resignations was in retaliation for what it said were Belgrade's attempts to undermine its statehood, such as spearheading a campaign to scupper Pristina's bid to join Interpol and blocking it from UN membership.

The move drew angry reactions from Belgrade and Sarajevo and calls from the European Union and the United States to revoke the measure.

Serbia's former province of Kosovo declared independence in 2008 and is recognized as a sovereign state by well over 100 countries but not by Belgrade.

Supporters of the Serb List gathered to celebrate the victory in North Mitrovica.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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