Local Elections in Kosovo No:206 - November 4, 2000

According to the unofficial and preliminary results, Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) headed by Mr. Ibrahim Rugova has won the municipal elections in Kosovo held on 28 October 2000, by obtaning 60% of the votes.

The fact that the municipal elections were held in a peaceful atmosphere and that Albanians who constitute the majority of the Kosovo population exercised their democratic right to vote for the first time in many years have been positive developments.

However, majority of the Turks, Serbs, Roma and Gora living in Kosovo did not participate in the elections, each for different reasons. We consider it a significant deficiency in terms of both the representative nature of the election results and the efforts toward establishing a pluralistic and participatory democracy in Kosovo.

Kosovar Turks have rightfully reacted to the fact that Turkish had been deprived of an equal status with Albanian and Serbian languages used in the forms for the registration process under the coordination of UNMIK, giving ground for concern arguing that Kosovar Turks' acquired rights were disregarded. Following UNMIK's promise to take necessary measures before the elections in order to overcome this problem, the representatives of the Kosovar Turks have declared that they might take part in the elections. However, since UNMIK did not take the necessary steps in time, the Kosovar Turks could not participate in the elections.

Therefore, in order to compensate, to a certain extent, the loss of Kosovar Turks' right to participate in the elections, we hope that the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Kosovo will exercise his discretionary power to appoint to the Municipal Assemblies the candidates from the legitimate political party of the Kosovar Turks, that is the Turkish Democratic Union (TDU). Should this request of the Kosovar Turks be met, it will constitute a major step forward towards the proper involvement of Kosovar Turks in the political life of Kosovo.

Having supported the UNSCR 1244 from the very outset, Turkey wishes to see the reinstallation of a lasting peace in Kosovo as well as the establishment of a democratic order based on equality, tolerance, solidarity and cooperation, which will protect the rights of the Turkish minority and those of other national communities at the highest level. Turkey directs her efforts in this vain, making use of every opportunity at all levels.

Turkey also hopes that the final status of Kosovo, which is directly linked to the peace and stability in the region, be determined through negotiations among all parties carried on the basis of common interest and acquired minority rights.