Residents of four Serb-majority municipalities boycott vote on removing ethnic Albanian mayors

An election commission member marks the index finger of a woman after she casted her ballot at a polling station in the northern Serb-dominated part of ethnically divided town of Mitrovica, Kosovo, Sunday. [AP]

Residents of four Serb-majority municipalities on Sunday overwhelmingly boycotted a vote on removing their ethnic Albanian mayors from office following last year's mayoral elections.

The referendum - supported by the West - was an attempt to diffuse tensions between Kosovo and neighboring Serbia as both countries vie to join the European Union. However, Kosovo's main ethnic Serb party, Srpska Lista, or Serbian List, which has close ties with Belgrade, had called for a boycott of Sunday's poll.

Only 253 out of 46,556 registered voters cast their ballots in all four municipalities. For the mayors to be ousted, a majority vote is needed. No ballots at all were cast in one of the municipalities, Zvecan, according to results after voting ended at 1700 GMT (1 p.m. EDT).

"That is why we note that the citizens' initiative to oust the mayors of the municipalities of...

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