Pristina cautious after claims of poisonous ballot papers from Serbia

Pristina cautious after claims of poisonous ballot papers from Serbia

Pristina cautious after claims of poisonous ballot papers from Serbia Izvor: N1

After Kosovo Central Election Commission (CIK) chairwoman Valdete Daka said the ballot papers for the parliamentary elections that came from Serbia would be counted after the police completed their investigation into whether they contained any dangerous substance, Pristina remained cautious, N1 reported on Monday.

Commission members reported late on Sunday a strong smell and some allergic reactions after opening envelopes with votes which were brought in from Serbia for the parliamentary elections held on October 6.

The envelopes were quarantined and will undergo tests to determine what happened. The media in Pristina reported that the envelopes with the votes were brought in from Serbia by liaison officer Dejan Pavicevic and were sent to the CIK from a post office in Pristina.

On Monday, Dr Lindira Ajazaj-Berisha from Pristina's Infectious Disease Clinic said 11 people were hospitalised of whom nine were women, two expectant mothers and two men.

According to Ajazaj-Berisha, they were in stable condition, adding some vomited and some were itching and had red spots on their skin, but that what caused the symptoms would be known in about 48 hours after all analysis was done.

The police were reported to have banned entry to the Clinic.

The KoSSev news portal quoted Kosovo Serb observer Stevan Veselinovic who said that the Serb observers were ordered out of the CIK offices after Albanian Commission members reported a strange smell from the envelopes from Serbia, adding none of the Serb observers showed any of the symptoms that the Albanian Commission members reported.

Veselinovic's lawyer said his client was arrested and interrogated by the police who seized his private mobile phone allegedly because he recorded the office where the votes from Serbia were being counted.

Vigan Koroli, an analyst and a legal expert from Pristina said that the way the ballots were brought into Kosovo violated the Constitution since diaspora was no allowed to vote in the embassies but only via mail directly.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci called for the restraint in political statements, and unconfirmed reports before the investigations were over.

The first reaction from Belgrade came from the head the Government's Office for Kosovo Marko Djuric who said the "manipulation with Serbian votes in Kosovo" is underway, with the intention of "inserting" a (PM-designate Albin) Kurti's Serb in Pristina parliament so he could diversify the Serb List election result.

Djuric said it was bizarre to see the kind of tricks Pristina is using, adding that "faking a poisoning is a brutal example of the mockery of democracy and human rights."

"Pristina propaganda masterminds have been preparing the public for an unexpected turn of events in the last few days, and they've made their first move, today, towards abolishing the rights of Serbs to a free political will," he said, adding "the whole world will be informed of this shame."

Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday that any attempt to abolish the Serb List could lead to catastrophic consequences in Serb-Albanian relations, claiming that Kosovo Albanians and their Western partners were working together to achieve that goal.                

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