West concerned over intimidation ahead of Kosovo election

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The embassies of the US, France, Germany, Italy, and Great Britain in Pristina are concerned over “efforts to influence the election” in Kosovo.

A joint statement of the so-called Quint, posted on the websites of the embassies, stated:

“Over the past few days, including today, we have received a number of deeply concerning reports of efforts to influence the results of the election in Kosovo through threats and intimidation. In particular, there appears to be an attempt to intimidate and coerce members of the Kosovo Serb community to vote in a particular way. Such actions are completely unacceptable. We call upon all those engaged to desist, and urge the Kosovo authorities and police to investigate fully.”

“All Kosovo citizens must be able to cast their votes according to their conscience and free from intimidation, interference, and fear. These elections are an opportunity for the citizens of Kosovo to choose their own representatives. Only the citizens of Kosovo have this power, and this responsibility. As members of the international community, we will work with whomever you elect,” the statement said.

The heads of the EU Office in Kosovo/EU special representative, the EULEX and the EU missions in Kosovo also issued a joint statement, welcoming that issued on Monday by the chief observer of the EU election observation mission.

EU officials “reiterated that all political actors need to refrain from practices contrary to democratic principles and to strictly abide by the law,” the statement said, and added:
“For us, Kosovo’s right to choose their leaders without fear or interference, is a sacred principle. Anything less than that is not democracy that the people of Kosovo expect and deserve.”

They also “expressed concern over reported incidents of intimidation and pressure, such as those witnessed over the past days in the north and elsewhere in Kosovo.”
“We reiterate the need for all political actors to refrain from practices that run contrary to democratic principles and strictly abide by the law,” the statement said.

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