Elections should have been postponed until demilitarization is carried out, security marketing is dangerous

Dušan Janjić u kolumni +381 sa Bljerimom Šaljom na portalu "KoSSev"
Dušan Janjić u kolumni +381

What’s special about these elections, and has the potential to become a Western Balkan brand, is that votes are obtained through barricades and incidents, including armed incidents, the president of the Forum for Ethnic Relations, Dusan Janjic, said in an interview for KoSSev. The upcoming year is an election year for many countries in the Balkans. If this form of security marketing – and it is obviously an attractive one – takes root throughout the Balkans, then the issue arises as to who can control it so that it does not turn into armed conflicts and place elections in the background, Janjic underlined.


Local elections were held in Kosovo on Sunday. According to preliminary data, Srpska Lista came out on top in 10 municipalities. In nine out of ten, SL candidates were elected as mayors in the first round. In the other 28 Albanian-majority municipalities, 8 mayors were elected in the first round, none from Self-Determination. The majority of the newly elected mayors come from the ranks of the PDK. The other 21 municipalities will have a second ballot in a month. The highest turnout was recorded in the north, over 80%, almost twice as high when compared to the entire territory of Kosovo (around 43%).


In the northern municipalities, two security and political crises took place during the election campaign. The first one came to be following the deployment of special police units near Jarinje and Brnjak and roadblocks set up by local Serbs. The second crisis occurred just four days before the elections – an anti-smuggling action during which special units were once again deployed, this time in North Mitrovica and Zvecan. The special units clashed with Serbs. This time, live ammunition was also used, resulting in the wounding of a local ethnic Serb Srecko Sofronijevic.


As it can already be determined based on the preliminary election results, two different results were obtained – reads Janjic’s analysis of the election outcome.


„If we look at the Serb community, and keeping in mind that the conflict primarily took place in the north, it gave an absolute advantage to SL over all other topics. It imposed one restriction on SL – not to deal with local and other issues, but general and national strategic ones,“ he said.


The ASM and the threat to withdraw from institutions as the backbone of the campaign


According to Janjic, the fact that SL ended its campaign by promising to continue the fight for the ASM is only a matter of „returning the debt to Serbia“.


„Vucic will use the topic of Kosovo and the Association of Serb-majority Municipalities in his campaign until the end of April. Secondly, it is an alternative to the inevitable upcoming early parliamentary elections in Kosovo,“ Janjic emphasized.


Security marketing remains the policy of Aleksandar Vucic in the upcoming elections

Why did this happen in the Serbian, not in the Albanian community, that is, what is the key difference?


„Because the Serbian community does not have a multi-party system. On paper, we have a number of parties, groups, or initiatives, but objectively speaking, one list holds a monopoly, a list that is not organized as a party, but as a broad political front. This monopoly can be compared to Milosevic’s idea of ​​non-party pluralism. Of course, in itself, the first effect it causes in people is the fear of looking for a leader, and then it obliges the leader to keep going as things escalate.“


That is precisely what happened in Raska last week, claims Janjic. Although the risk of an armed threat in the second incident in that so-called fight against smuggling was much smaller than it could have been the case with the license plate crisis due to direct contact between special units and Serbs for 13 days, in last week’s crisis, the armed threat could „be more understood as a direct threat to future wars“.


„Security marketing remains the policy of Aleksandar Vucic in the upcoming elections,“ Janjic emphasized.


In the confrontation as a consequence of the reciprocity policy, Kurti – as the weaker one – loses


Janjic proceeds to explain that these crises in the north had an opposite effect on the Albanians because in that confrontation, which is a result of the reciprocity policy, Kurti „is not aware that objectively speaking, reciprocity signifies an uneven battle and the one who is objectively weaker – must lose.“


„And he (cf. Kurti) was weaker,“ claims Janjic. „First of all, due to the lack of an adequate reaction which he couldn’t give because he faced the well-organized and motivated people of northern Kosovo.“


„Srpska Lista indeed headed this, but the people are already used to such circumstances,“ Janjic added.


„He is ready to respond to that, but this has shown that Kurti has no intention to integrate the north, which is very dangerous,“ he explained, noting that Kurti has defined political subjects in the opposition who have now used this weakness to seize his advantage.


„Therefore, we should wait for the second ballot in Pristina. If Kurti definitely loses a mayoral seat there, he must hold early parliamentary elections,“ Janjic said.


Elections should have been postponed until demilitarization


Dusan Janjic shared his belief that the elections should have been postponed until „demilitarization“ is carried out, underscoring that the responsibility for that lies primarily with Miroslav Lajcak.

„It is simply fascinating how everyone, all international observers and local partners emphasized security, not the regularity of elections, as was the case in 2013 when the ballot boxes were damaged and the results were annulled due to a fear that Oliver Ivanovic might win. Technical elections were regular, but they were held in an undemocratic atmosphere, lack of freedom, and in fact, such elections should not have been held – they should have been postponed.“


„Because this topic has been abused enough, let me be very clear, when one says that Srpska Lista did a good thing for not boycotting, nobody asked SL to boycott the elections,“ Janjic commented on the claims that those who advocated for the postponement of the elections on the Serbian side essentially advocated for withdrawing from the institutions.


„Proposals were made to postpone elections and send a clear message – the international community needed to do this,“ Janjic said.


Lajcak’s role – he fueled the fire


On the other hand, instead of „coordinating the incidents“, Miroslav Lajcak should have coordinated the action of postponing the elections symbolically – by a month – until the situation calms down and thus support the demilitarization of the entire area and topics – Janjic adds.


He revealed that some data show Lajcak participated in the „bedlam known as plates, stickers, barricades, shootings“ and then, what is even more drastic, in the drafting of the so-called temporary solutions.


He fully adjusted the timing to Belgrade, Janjic further claimed.


„It is only by 2022 that we will realize that there are no more stickers and what was the outcome.“


What happened?


Kurti gained reciprocity, but it is too late for him now, says Janjic. „He probably believed that he would come out better and that he could say – I introduced the RKS plates, but Serbia lost because it covered its plates with a sticker.”


„Those are Serbia’s license plates! So far, no one has covered those plates in order to get a short-term postponement of Kurti’s request and the Albanian public for RKS plates. This is the direct responsibility of Lajcak and they welcomed it, both Lajcak and Borrell. It is not a success if the problem is postponed, then it will be even bigger, the success will be even bigger.“

The threat of terminating the Brussels agreement continues, but it remains uncertain whether Vucic will do so


„It is fascinating how the citizens responded to that with a high turnout and discipline with very little technical space in the voting, but with the imposed choice – there was no choice,“ Janjic also noted.

In his words, it is the matter of „paying back the debt to Vucic“.

„It is now Vucic’s need to threaten through SL via withdrawal from Kosovo’s institutions and closing down Kosovo’s institutions, i.e. by terminating the Brussels agreement on integration. Vucic needs to do so because he needs a stronger dose, because of the increasing number of problems in Serbia, from corruption scandals and so on, and more organized activities of the opposition which is still poorly organized, but Negotin showed the potential that one cannot count on gaining over 50% of support, and thirdly, because of regional policy.“

However, Janjic estimated that Vucic will not go so far as to terminate the Brussels agreement.

Will the security marketing spread across the region?

Janjic reminded that the upcoming year is an election year for many countries in the Balkans, such as Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia, BiH.

 “If this form of security marketing – and it is obviously an attractive one – takes root throughout the Balkans, then the issue arises as to who can control it so that it does not turn into armed conflicts and place elections in the background,” Janjic underlined, adding that the local actors have “less and less strength”.

„But we also see Lajcak and Borrell fueling the fire, instead of extinguishing it,“ he emphasized.

While emphasizing that we should wait and see what will come out of them, these elections are, if not historical, then warning.

„And there is another warning for the Serbian community, and Belgrade leadership, not for the citizens because they are behaving in accordance with the situation. Belgrade must understand that with a single party – or, as people say, with all the eggs in one basket, it is very easy to slip and break all the eggs. Belgrade must encourage equal communication with all Serbs, regardless of their political orientations.“

Finally, there should be no doubt that Serbs will react like Serbs, especially in situations when they are pushed to a confrontation, but they should be given a chance to show that they are capable of qualifying for democratization, Janjic concluded.



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