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Belgrade-Backed Kosovo Serb Party Chooses Doctor as New Leader

The head of the Clinical Centre in the north of the divided Kosovo town of Mitrovica, Zlatan Elek, is the new president of Belgrade-sponsored political party Srpska Lista, it was announced on Tuesday.

Elek, a specialist in paediatric surgery, was unanimously voted in as president at a party meeting in North Mitrovica.

A statement issued by Srpska Lista after the meeting suggested that Elek will continue to closely follow Belgrade’s line in Kosovo, where Serbs are in the majority in four northern municipalities.

“President Elek pointed out that in the coming period, Srpska Lista will be the pivot around which the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija will gather, and that all important political decisions will always be made in coordination with the Belgrade authorities, and in the interest of the entire Serbian people,” said the statement posted on Facebook.

The change in leadership came amid a turbulent period for the party. One of its vice-presidents, controversial Serb businessman Milan Radoicic, resigned after publicly admitting that he organised an armed attack in the village of Banjska/Banjske on September 24, which left one Kosovo policemen dead.

Srpska Lista elected five new vice-presidents as well as a new leader on Tuesday, it announced.

The party has had repeated troubles in recent months. In June, some locals in North Mitrovica chanted slogans against Srpska Lista after a Kosovo Serb was arrested in the city centre. A Serb opposition politician claimed this showed the party was “losing its credibility with the people”.

Srpska Lista boycotted local elections in Kosovo in April, after which Kosovo imposed new mayors in four predominantly Serb municipalities that were previously run by Srpska Lista representatives. This triggered demonstrations that turned into violent clashes with the Kosovo Police and NATO’s Kosovo mission KFOR.

In a U-turn on October 13, the party announced that it will participate in potential new mayoral byelections and urged a date to be set for the polls.

In the last local elections in 2021, the vast majority of the votes were won by Srpska Lista in all four Serb-majority municipalities in northern Kosovo. According to the Kosovo Central Election Commission, the party won 97.1 per cent of the votes cast in Leposavic, 81.54 per cent in Zubin Potok, 96.04 per cent in Zvecan, and 89.17 per cent in North Mitrovica.

Elek succeeded Goran Rakic as the party leader. Rakic had headed Srpska Lista since 2017.

Elek was born in Mitrovica in 1968. He graduated from the Medical Faculty of Pristina University in 1993, got his master’s degree at the Medical Faculty in Nis in Serbia in 2006 and his PhD at the Medical Faculty in North Mitrovica in 2010. He has worked at the Clinical Centre in North Mitrovica since 1994 and has taught at the Medical Faculty in the city since 2010.

Source : Balkan Insight

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