Kosovo UN envoy European official discuss upcoming municipal elections

The United Nations top envoy for Kosovo, Michael Steiner, today met with a senior European official to discuss the province’s second round of municipal elections later this year, to be organized again by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). “I informed the Foreign Minister about the ongoing talks in this respect: there is a chance that we can achieve elections, on the condition that all the leaders do their job and show the necessary spirit of compromise,” Mr. Steiner told a press conference in Pristina after his meeting with Portugal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jaime Gama, the OSCE’s current Chairman-in-Office. Last night in a televised address to the people of Kosovo, Mr. Steiner, the chief of the UN Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK), announced that municipal elections would be held on 21 September if the political leaders elected last November to the Assembly acted quickly to form a provisional self-government. The Assembly has yet to agree on key positions, including a President and Prime Minister for the province. Mr. Gama said “because this [process] has a sequence, as an overall exercise for regaining political expression for the people of Kosovo, then it makes sense that local elections take place if there is a result from the previous general elections.” The OSCE Chairman added that he would take this view to the local political leaders today and would tell them that “you are representing the people of Kosovo and should abide by the spirit of negotiation and compromise which are the basic rules for modern politics…I’m sure we will get a result.” Asked if he had a way out to break the deadlock in the Assembly, Mr. Steiner said, “It’s up to those who have been elected to find that solution…If we have the necessary spirit of compromise, if the leaders cannot follow their own party interests, but follow the interest of Kosovo, we will find a solution…I think it is possible to do that and I will work for that to be the outcome.”

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