HomeWestern Balkans Anti-Disinformation HUBWhy and by Whome the Mayor of Preševo, Shqiprim Arifi, Was Dismissed

Why and by Whome the Mayor of Preševo, Shqiprim Arifi, Was Dismissed

Recently, the news about the  dismissal of the Mayor of Preševo, Shqiprim Arifi, was circulated in numerous Albanian media outlets, mostly under the headline: ‘Vučić  dismisses the Mayor of Preševo’. However, an investigation by Faktoje revealed that this reporting was presented in a misleading narrative. Most media outlets only referenced Mr. Arifi’s social media post without verifying the news through additional sources.

Jona Plumbi

The former Mayor of Preševo, Shqiprim Arifi, accused the authorities in Belgrade of a ‘violent’ dismissal and ‘discrimination against Albanians’.

This news was extensively covered by Albanian-speaking media , with most of them citing Arifi’s statement published on Facebook.

Vučić dismissed Kurti’s Critic/ Shqiprim Arifi: Continuing Milošević’s Tradition

‘Without following any legal procedure and without any official notice, the Serbian and anti-Albanian regime, continuing Milošević’s tradition from the 90s, forcibly removed me from the position of Mayor of Preševo,’ the media quoted.

Vučić dismisses the Mayor of Preševo, Shqiprim Arifi

Vučić dismisses the Mayor of Preševo, Shqiprim Arifi

The news led to various accusations regarding the reason for Arifi’s removal, suggesting involvement by Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti or claiming that the dismissal was due to the display of the Albanian flag in the municipality of Preševo.

Vučić Removes the Mayor of Preševo, Shqiprim Arifi Reacts: Continuing Milošević’s Tradition from the ’90s!

Vučić Removes Kurti’s Critic/ Serbian Government Appointees in the Municipality of Preševo with Technical Mandate

Shqiprim Arifi: Kurti’s Allies Collaborated with Vučić to Remove Me

Vučić Removes the Mayor of Preševo after Raising the Albanian Flag! Shqiprim Arifi: I Have Been a Vocal Critic of Him

Without context, this information creates the impression that Aleksandar Vučić removed Shqiprim Arifi either because he raised the Albanian flag on the municipal building or due to his criticisms of Kurti.

Biased Reporting of Accusations, Especially Political Ones, Often Leads to Significant Misunderstandings

Providing some context can change the perception of a situation. A good starting point is the Law on Local Self-Government in Serbia, which explains how a municipality mayor is chosen.

In Serbia, mayors are not elected directly by the people.

The procedure is as follows: During local elections, citizens vote to elect the city or municipal assembly. It is this assembly that then elects its president, who serves as the mayor of the city or municipality.

Consequently, the Serbian government, represented by the president of the national assembly, is responsible for calling local elections and dissolving the local parliamentary assembly.

This is outlined in Article 86 of the Law on Local Self-Government (Zakon o lokalnoj samoupravi).

Following the Announcement of New Elections for Belgrade and Many Other Municipalities on June 2nd, Shqiprim Arifi Was One of the Officials Who Lost His Position After the Municipal Assembly Was Dissolved

These municipalities and cities will be managed by a technical government until a new assembly is elected in the June elections.

Ragmi Mustafa, appointed by the Serbian Government as the head of the Provisional Authority to lead Preševo until the elections, stated that the local assembly of Preševo had not convened since July 2023, which led to its dissolution.

The previous coalition around Shqiprim Arifi’s Alternative for Change lost its majority in the Assembly and was unable to convene any sessions for nine months‘ Ragmi Mustafa told Radio Europa e Lirë (Free Europe).

In the Serbian government’s decision to dissolve the Preševo Assembly, published in the official gazette on April 19th, it is stated that the government referred to Article 86 and Article 85, paragraph 1, which allows for the dissolution of a local assembly if it does not convene for more than three months.

Arifi has not disputed this claim by the Serbian government so far.

Regardless of politicians’ positions, the media’s mission is to provide complete and accurate information. This is hindered when reporting is limited to one perspective, without providing the context or the viewpoint of the other party.

The dismissal of the Mayor of Preševo, Shqiprim Arifi, illustrates how the absence of context and comprehensive information can lead to misunderstandings among readers.


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