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Second day of voting in Kosovo Serb referendum

16 february 2012, 10:29
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A Kosovo Serb casts his ballot during a referendum in the village of Grabovac. ©AFP
A Kosovo Serb casts his ballot during a referendum in the village of Grabovac. ©AFP
Serbs in northern Kosovo started voting Wednesday in the last day of a referendum that looks set to reject the authority of the Kosovo government, defying Belgrade's wishes, AFP reports.

The two-day vote is a reaction to EU-brokered talks between Belgrade and Pristina, with many local politicians arguing that the Serbian government should not be talking to the authorities in Pristina, much less making deals with them.

It is being seen as an act of defiance against the Serbian government -- but it has no legal weight and has been dismissed by both Belgrade and Pristina, as well as the international community.

Polling stations in northern Kosovo where Serbs are the overwhelming majority opened around 7 am (0600 GMT) and will close at 7pm (1800 GMT), and the first partial results are expected late Wednesday.

Serbia and Serbs in northern Kosovo have never accepted Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008, which is recognised by dozens of countries including the United States and most of Europe.

Some 35,000 voters in the majority Serb north are being asked: "Do you accept the institutions of the so-called republic of Kosovo seated in Pristina?"

The turnout at the first day of vote was 48 percent, the authorities said.

Of a population of about two million, there are some 120,000 ethnic Serbs in Kosovo, 40,000 of whom live in the north on the border with Serbia and the rest in enclaves dotted around the territory.

Only Serbs in northern Kosovo were participating in the referendum.

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