Kosovo is today holding its first elections since its self-declared independence from Serbia.Authorities are hoping that a free and fair vote will encourage more countries to recognise Kosovo as its own state. But many ethnic Serbs, who still see Kosovo as a part of Serbia, have said they will boycott the ballot. Serbs make up less than six percent of the Kosovar population but are concentrated in communities in towns like Mitrovica and Gracanica. The dilemma for many Serbs is that by not voting they risk forfeiting their influence over health and education in these areas to their ethnic Albanian, pro-independence neighbours. Even ten years after the Kosovo war, friction still remains between the two communities. Security is particularly tight in Serb districts, where some voters fear attacks by other Serbs if they turn out to vote.
Kosovo votes in landmark election