Round table in Presevo turned out to be dedicated to the most relevant topic in the local community at the moment, since they were held in the eve of the repeated elections for National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. Election results were contested four times in the attempts to prevent Albanian national minority from parliamentary representation and this is why the panel there was of extreme importance for the local community. Topics discussed were, among others, inter-ethnic relations, efforts to make Serbia a truly civil society, coexistence and tolerance, human rights, rights of national minorities, equality, reconciliation, overcoming differences and various local initiatives that aim to achieve those goals, as well as their results and scope. The participants of the round table were activists, journalists, members of parliament, representatives of local youth civil society organizations who have been working for years to build better inter-ethnic relations in this part of Serbia.
The Chair of the Executive Committee of the Regional Academy for Democratic Development, Balša Božović, strongly condemned the attempts to illegally annul and change the results of the last parliamentary elections and to deny the Albanian national community the right to parliamentary representation. He warned that no one has the right to deny the right of citizens of Serbia who belong to Albanian national minority to have their own representatives in the Parliament of Serbia, and that attempts to change and negate their electoral will send them the message that they are not an equal part of our society. He called on all pro-European parties in Serbia to stand up for the protection and defense of the election result, thanks to which the list of the Party for Democratic Action won one mandate in the elections, and to strongly oppose attempts to strip Albanian minority from that seat by force and contrary to the law. Božović assessed that without that, without the complete integration of all national communities in Serbian society, there is no possibility for Serbia to become a democratic country and that this is an issue that goes beyond the electoral success of any party. He concluded that respecting the electoral will of the Albanian national community is a way to build trust, and that it is key to establishing good inter-ethnic relations. Long-term Member of Parliament and President of the Party for Democratic Action, Šaip Kamberi, said that the year 2022 is crucial for the image of Serbia in 2030, and that this image netirely depends on how Serbia will determine itself according to some of the most significant issues and challenges it faces. He said that among them are the question of the solution of the status of Kosovo, which is crucial not only for the situation in Serbia in the coming years, but also for the stability of the entire Western Balkans. He warned that the citizens of the Preševo Valley are hostages of what is happening in the relations between Serbia and Kosovo and that in order to reach a permanent and sustainable solution, the cooperation of all the countries of the Western Balkans is necessary. In this regard, Kamberi stressed the importance of the Open Balkans initiative and emphasized that some of the ideas coming from the central government, such as the one about the “Serbian world”, are directly opposed to everything that cooperation in the Balkans entails and that they go hand in hand with the glorification of war crimes and war criminals and politics from the 1990s. Commenting on numerous obstructions and sabotages in connection with the last national elections for deputies and attempts to challenge the election results of the Albanian community and prevent parliamentary representation, Kamberi assessed that the Albanian community in Serbia is at a crossroads and that even those political forces that have always, since the 1990s, advocated for participation in the elections, are brought into a situation where they have to reconsider the expediency of their views on participation in the elections and political processes in Serbia and make a new decision about whether it is worth participating in the elections or resorting to other methods with the full risk that they may have destabilizing effects.