UN sets Nov. 17 as date for general elections in Kosovo

The United Nations mission in Kosovo announced Friday that general elections would be held in the province on Nov. 17, shortly before international envoys report on efforts to resolve the dispute over the territory's postwar status.
The U.N. administration called the general and local elections, which were due to be held in November, despite concern that campaigning could increase tensions already high over the status talks.
The U.N. administrator, Joachim Ruecker, said the date could be changed if the election process interferes with the effort to settle differences between Kosovo's ethnic Albanians and Serbia.
"It is crucial that democracy runs its course, notwithstanding the paramount importance of concluding the status process," Ruecker said.
"I reserve the right to postpone the elections date should there be a conflict, in particular should the holding of elections be used as an excuse to delay status," he said.
The latest round of talks, held Thursday in Vienna, Austria, failed to bridge the gap between Kosovo Albanian demands for independence and Serbia's insistence on keeping hold of its southern province.
November's vote will be the third election for the 120-seat multiethnic assembly since the end of the 1998-99 war between ethnic Albanian separatists and Serb forces.
The territory of about 2 million people formally remains part of Serbia, although it has been under U.N. and NATO administration since the end of the war.
The last assembly election was held in 2003, resulting in a coalition government of two ethnic Albanian parties led by Prime Minister Agim Ceku. Kosovo's Serb minority boycotts the province's parliament.

Updated : 2021-01-28 17:50 GMT+08:00