Pristina and Belgrade have both been pushing for a strong turnout in municipal elections in Kosovo.
Serbia, which is seeking to join the European Union, is keen for the elections to help improve its relations with Kosovo – one of the conditions of its EU membership talks progressing.
Many of the Kosovar Serbs, however, have pledged to boycott the vote. A small minority in the country, they oppose Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008.
In the Serb-dominated north of the country, critics of the elections see them as validating Kosovo’s secession from Serbia. Billboards on the streets of Mitrovica encourage people not to go to the polls. The slogans say the vote is unconstitutional.
Krstimir Pantic, a Belgrade-backed candidate for mayor of Mitrovica, has complained that Pristina’s poor running of the elections could jeopardise them. Pantic said he was unable to cast his ballot early on November 3 because some members of the voting committees had not shown up for work.
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