The decision of the municipality of Gracanica to gift parcels to Kosovo Polje leads to new requests for further changes of the municipal boundaries

Ugljare
FOTO: RTK2

The decision of the municipal assembly of Gracanica to gift parts, 108 ha to be precise, of the cadastre zone Ugljare and Preoce registered as part of its municipal area to the neighbouring municipality of Kosovo Polje has triggered a string of reactions and petitions from the citizens living in these cadastre zones.

On 12 September the municipal assembly of Gracanica approved Mayor Srdjan Popovic’s motion to gift 108 ha of land belonging to the cadastre zones Ugljare and Preoce to the municipality of Kosovo Polje. The Mayor claimed he filed the motion following citizen requests he received, but he denied access to this document to local media. The citizens allegedly requested to be adjoined to Kosovo Polje due to better access to services. The mayor also argued that citizens in this region do not pay property tax to the municipality of Gracanica and have their residency registered to Kosovo Polje.

The 108 ha of gifted land is where the prestigious settlement Marigona is located. This is an Albanian-majority settlement in a Serb-majority municipality.

A month after the initial decision of the municipality of Gracanica, on 10th October, the municipal assembly of Kosovo Polje also approved the mutual agreement on the adjustment of the municipal borders.

Following these developments, Albanian residents who also resided in this cadastre zone, but outside of the 108 ha of land gifted to Kosovo Polje signed a petition to join Kosovo Polje for the same reasons of convenience that Mayor Popovic said was the justification of the first citizen request the media were denied access to. In their petition they also requested the Ministry of Administration and Local Self Governance and the Kosovo Assembly approve the agreement between the municipalities.

As a counterreaction, 600 Serb residents of the same village wrote the petition against the merger of their village that currently belongs to Gracanica to the neighbouring Kosovo Polje.

RTK reported on Monday that the Serb residents of the village Ugljare were misled by the information in the media and that the first petition by their Albanian neighbours did not include the whole village, but only the part of the village that is predominantly populated by Albanians. Serbs were not included in this petition reported RTK2.

The initial decision by the municipal assembly of Gracanica was widely disputed by the Serbian Liberal Party, the Self-determination party and political analysts as unconstitutional.

In order to change municipal boundaries the Law on Administrative Municipal Boundaries must be amended. As this is one of the laws listed on the Constitution under laws of vital interest, it cannot be amended without a double majority, or 2/3 of votes of all MPs and 2/3 of votes of MPS standing in for non-majority communities.

Although it was initially announced that MALS will not approve the legality of the decision of the municipal assembly of Gracanica, RTK2 reported on Monday that this institution did give a positive assessment of the legality of the disputed municipal act. However, the decision of the legality of this document is not yet published on the official webpage of MALS. MALS is obliged to assess the legality of every municipal act no later than 15 days upon receiving the documents from the municipality.

Read also:

Gracanica municipality surrenders its Marigona settlement to Kosovo Polje

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