MEETING IN PRISTINA: Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former United Nations special envoy Martti Ahtisaari, left, with Kosovo president Fatmir Sejdiu after meeting in the Kosovo capital Pristina, June 15 2009. Kosovo declared independence in 2008 based on an Ahtisaari document without the UN's blessing and so far is recognised by 60 countries.
Kosovo president Fatmir Sejdiu announced on June 16 2009 that elections for mayor and municipal councils in 30 local authorities would be held on November 15 this year.
He named the date after consulting constitutional authorities, government and opposition parties.
The municipalities in which elections will be held include five in which ethnic Serbs make up the majority. Sejdiu urged ethnic Serbs to participate, saying in an earlier interview with AFP that they were being held hostage by "an irrational policy on the part of Belgrade".
Serbia vehemently rejects Kosovo’s February 2008 unilateral declaration of independence and has won UN General Assembly backing to take the question of the legitimacy of Kosovo’s independence to the World Court for an opinion.
In a speech to the Kosovo assembly in Pristina on June 15 2009, Martti Ahtisaari, the former UN special envoy whose plan opened the way for Kosovo independence, urged ethnic Serbs in Kosovo to use the advantages offered to them by his plan, by accepting the partnership offered to them by the Kosovo leadership.
In a June 16 report, DPA said that there was "no sign" that Serbs would take part in the local elections.