Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has warned there will be grave and wide-spread consequences if Kosovo refuses to open voting centers to hold a Serbian constitutional referendum in its sovereign territory.
On Sunday (16 January), Serbia is holding a constitutional referendum to change how its judges and prosecutors are elected in order to bring its Constitution in line with EU legislature. All registered voters are eligible to vote, including dual Serbian citizens who live in Kosovo.
Earlier this week, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and EU High Representative Josep Borrell clashed over Serbia’s request that voting centers be opened in the sovereign territory of Kosovo to allow the OSCE to collect votes for the Serbian referendum.
Borrell said that “[p]eople should be able to exercise their right to vote,” while Kurti wrote on Twitter that all dual citizens are allowed to vote and can do so by mail or through the liaison office in Prishtina.
Today, the embassies of France, Germany, Italy, UK, USA and the Delegation of EU released a joint statement noting “with regret that the Kosovo government has not allowed the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to collect ballots of eligible voters living in Kosovo for the upcoming referendum in accordance with past practice.”
“We call upon the governments of Kosovo and Serbia to refrain from actions and rhetoric that increase tensions and to engage constructively in the EU-facilitated Dialogue,” the statement concluded.
Deputy Foreign Minister Kreshnik Ahmeti reacted to the statement, refuting the claim that Serbian citizens are not being denied the right to vote.
“[The right to vote] cannot be exercised by violating the sovereignty of the country. While there are two easy voting opportunities for [Serbian] citizens, by mail and through the Serbian Liaison Office in the Republic of Kosovo, any additional request from Serbia is only a pretext for eventual destabilization of the country and the region,” Ahmeti wrote on Facebook.