The referendum for the amendment of the Constitution of Serbia ended yesterday at 20:00 with the closing of the polling stations. President Aleksandar Vucic said that 60.48 percent of citizens who voted in the referendum voted in favor of it, while the Republican Election Commission announced that according to data processed until 22:30, based on 34.68 percent of processed polling stations voted pro. “Yes” voted 61.84 percent.
However, Serb citizens, who are skeptical of Vucic’s rule, have expressed doubts that holding a referendum, even when the epidemiological situation is very bad, is just another way for Serbian authorities to find out “when they can count” on April elections. This is, presumably, the reason why the referendum is being held now and not when the elections are.
There is no doubt that the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, by organizing the Serbian referendum in Kosovo, prepared the ground for the next presidential elections in Serbia, for which a continuous campaign of the highest summit of that country is taking place.
However, while the referendum is not a demonstration exercise to support government or opposition citizens, conducting a constitutional vote could be a good demonstration exercise in controlling electoral irregularities in the April elections.
The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, has stated that the ban of the Kosovo authorities for Serbs in Kosovo to vote in the referendum will have great consequences and that Serbia “remains with its people”.
Vucic has made every effort for Kosovo Serbs led by the Serb List to vote in yesterday’s referendum. Serbs in Kosovo working in education, healthcare and other parallel institutions have received orders from the Serb List to vote in the referendum. They organized transportation and food, as a common practice when support is needed for Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade and other places, otherwise a negative response would mean job loss for them.
On January 14, the international community called on the Kosovo government to allow Serbs to vote in the upcoming referendum organized by Serbia. A statement from several Western countries expressed regret that the Kosovo government had not allowed the OSCE collect ballots from Kosovo during the referendum (16 January).
However, the state leadership of Kosovo, in a meeting with the representatives of the Quint states in Pristina, has expressed the common position for holding a referendum in Serbia on the territory of Kosovo, which is that members of the Serb community can vote by mail or through Liaison Office in Prishtina.
As it was announced at the time, the Presidency, the Government and the Assembly of Kosovo have made it clear to the international community that the opening of polling stations for the Serbian referendum in Kosovo would mean a violation of the Constitution and laws of Kosovo, as well as a violation of international practice.
One day before the referendum in Serbia, an extraordinary session of the Assembly of Kosovo was held, where the deputies adopted the Resolution against the organization of the Serbian referendum in Kosovo.
President Vjosa Osmani’s Chief of Staff, Blerim Vela, reacted after the referendum in Serbia. He wrote on Twitter that despite threats from Serbia, in Kosovo was a peaceful day.
“Despite the threats emanating from Serbia, it was a peaceful day in Kosovo. Serbia’s illegal structures didn’t manage to hold the referendum. Kosovo kept a principled position that maintains regional peace and stability while upholding its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”, Vela wrote.
Security expert Agim Musliu said that with the ban on the Serbian referendum, “Kosovo has proved its citizenship, while Serbia and Vucic have received the message.”
“Kosovo is passing this test and in no way we fall behind Rakic’s threats and provocations.”
Musliu said that “as always, Serbia will not stop challenging the state of Kosovo and its institutions, as was the case with the Serbian referendum.”
Regarding the reaction and protests of Kosovo Serbs, Musliu said that “this protest and this attempt shows that there are divisions between the camps in Serbia and Russia, because the latter, according to him, encourages these actions.”
On January 15, the Kosovo Police announced that a day before they had stopped importing election material for the referendum from Serbia. According to the announcement, on January 14, three vehicles – one car and two trucks – with Serbian license plates, arrived at the Merdare border crossing, with six people on board. The vehicles contained materials allegedly used to hold a Serb referendum in Kosovo.
In the referendum for the change of the Constitution in the judiciary in Serbia, based on 98.47 percent of polling stations processed, 1,953,711 citizens voted, 59.73 percent supported the changes, while 39.24 percent were against them, according to data from the Republican Election Commission.