2012 North Kosovo referendum

An advisory referendum on accepting the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo[a] was held in the Serb-dominated regions of North Kosovo on 14 and 15 February 2012.[1] The referendum was held in Zubin Potok, Zvečan and Kosovska Mitrovica on both days, while Leposavić voted on 15 February. The voting ran from 7:00 to 19:00 on both days.[2] 15 February is also symbolically Serbia's Statehood Day. The result saw 99.74% of voters reject the writ of the Republic of Kosovo's institutions. The poll was rejected by the governments of both Serbia and Kosovo.[3]

Location of North Kosovo


Though North Kosovo, as part of the Assembly of the Community of Municipalities of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija, adheres to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, it opposed the unilateral 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence (the Kosovo Serb enclaves were under the de facto jurisdiction[4] of the institutions of the Republic of Serbia, though this is disputed by the Kosovan Assembly). The referendum was announced on December 25, 2011, by Kosovska Mitrovica Mayor Krstimir Pantić, to ascertain local opinion about the writ of the Republic of Kosovo's institutions.[5]

Both the European Union and Serbia were against the referendum.[6][7] Kosovan Serbs feared that Serbia opposed the referendum in order to win support for accession to the EU, a condition of which is to resolve the Kosovo dispute. The notion was however rejected by Serbian President Boris Tadić and the Minister of State for Kosovo Oliver Ivanović. The parliament of Kosovo passed a motion declaring the referendum invalid.[8]

Similarly, the Foreign Ministry of Albania expressed concern about holding a referendum, stating it was not legal and would not serve the interest of ethnic communities to socially, economically and politically integrate within Kosovo.[9]

Milan Ivanović, the president of the Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija, criticised Serbia proper for having failed in its Kosovo policy while sticking by the decision to democratically demonstrate the view of the Serbs of north Kosovo.[citation needed]

North Kosovo barricades

The Republic of Kosovo sought to impose its customs officials in the administrative border crossings with Serbia. Kosovar Serbs, seeking the removal of Republic of Kosovo customs officials, sought to erect roadblocks to make travel difficult for KFOR troops in the area that sought to maintain civil order.


Do you accept the institutions of the so-called Republic of Kosovo?[2]
Serbian: Да ли прихватате институције такозване Републике Косово?


The referendum was held in four municipalities with a Serbian majority in the north of Kosovo, with 35,500 eligible voters. Some of the voting papers were also in the Albanian language.

There were 82 voting stations:[2] 13 in Kosovska Mitrovica, 11 in Zvečan, 25 in Zubin Potok, and 33 in Leposavić.

According to Ljuba Radović, referendum commission's spokesman, there currently was no information on whether ethnic Albanians will take part in the referendum, though three villages (Žaža, Boljetin and Lipa) in the Zvečan municipality, which are of a Kosovar Albanian majority, have said that they will not take part.[citation needed]


North Kosovo referendum, 2012[10]
Choice Votes  %
No 26,524 99.74
Yes 69 0.26
Valid votes 26,593 99.50
Invalid or blank votes 134 0.50
Total votes 26,725 100.00
0.26% 99.74%
Yes No


On 1 March, the accession of Serbia to the European Union was given "candidate status" on the premise of progress over the Kosovo dispute (as well as other "reforms").

See also


a. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008. Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the 2013 Brussels Agreement. Kosovo is currently (this note self-updates) recognized as an independent state by 98 out of the 193 United Nations member states. In total, 113 UN member states recognized Kosovo at some point, of which 15 later withdrew their recognition.


  1. Barlovac, Bojana; Aliu Fatmir. "Northern Serbs Vote 'No' to Kosovo". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  2. Northern Kosovo ready for referendum, B 92, 12 February 2012, archived from the original on 2012-02-14, retrieved 15 February 2012
  3. "Serbs reject Kosovo Albanian rule in referendum". BBC. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  4. Fatmir Aliu (2013-05-03). "North Kosovo Leader Demands Right to Join Serbia". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2012-02-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "Commission deplores Serb's Northern Kosovo referendum", EurActiv, 14 February 2012, retrieved 15 February 2012
  7. Vujisic, Tanja (15 February 2012), Kosovo Serbs defy Belgrade, EU with referendum, AFP, retrieved 15 February 2012
  8. Ristic, Marija (February 15, 2012). "Kosovo Serb Referendum Goes Into Second Day". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  9. "Ministria e Punëve të Jashtme". Mfa.gov.al. Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  10. "РТС :: Север Косова неће Приштину". Rts.rs (in Serbian). Retrieved 2017-05-29.