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Polls open in local Kosovo vote that tests EU-brokered deal with Serbia

  • f4ba79bcf1adf324410f6a7067002058.jpg

    A banner that reads: Boycott for Albanian elections'' flies over a street in the northern, Serb-dominated part of Mitrovica, Kosovo Saturday, Nov 2, 2013. Kosovo local elections are scheduled for November 3. As part of attempts to normalize its relations with Kosovo, Serbia has agreed to convince Kosovo Serbs to end their boycott of ethnic Albanian dominated institutions in protest over Kosovo's 2008 secession from Serbia. Serbia claims the territory as its own. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (The Associated Press)

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    The Serbian flag flies over the barricade in front of the main bridge, one of two bridges between the southern, ethnic Albanian-dominated and the northern, Serb-dominated part of Mitrovica, Kosovo Saturday, Nov 2, 2013. Kosovo local elections are scheduled for November 3. As part of attempts to normalize its relations with Kosovo, Serbia has agreed to convince Kosovo Serbs to end their boycott of ethnic Albanian dominated institutions in protest over Kosovo's 2008 secession from Serbia. Serbia claims the territory as its own. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (The Associated Press)

  • e71ac45ef1baf424410f6a706700cdfd.jpg

    A women passes by graffiti that compares the USA to the Nazi swastika and EU, in the northern, Serb-dominated part of Mitrovica, Kosovo Saturday, Nov 2, 2013. Kosovo local elections are scheduled for November 3. As part of attempts to normalize its relations with Kosovo, Serbia has agreed to convince Kosovo Serbs to end their boycott of ethnic Albanian dominated institutions in protest over Kosovo's 2008 secession from Serbia. Serbia claims the territory as its own. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (The Associated Press)

  • 87585302f1adf324410f6a706700c22f.jpg

    The Serbian flags flies over the barricade in front of the main bridge, one of two bridges between the southern, ethnic Albanian-dominated and the northern, Serb-dominated part of Mitrovica, Kosovo Saturday, Nov 2, 2013. Kosovo local elections are scheduled for November 3. As part of attempts to normalize its relations with Kosovo, Serbia has agreed to convince Kosovo Serbs to end their boycott of ethnic Albanian dominated institutions in protest over Kosovo's 2008 secession from Serbia. Serbia claims the territory as its own. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (The Associated Press)

Polls have opened across Kosovo in a local election that will test the country's fragile relations with Serbia as they both seek to move closer to the European Union.

Serbia has called on Kosovo Serb minority to participate in the poll organized by Pristina's ethnic Albanian dominated authorities for the first time since Kosovo seceded in 2008.

Some Kosovo Serbs want to boycott the elections because they fear that by taking part they would validates Kosovo's secession from Serbia. Some ethnic Albanians believe poll paves the way for ethnic partition by carving out a territory that would be ruled by minority Serbs.

Serb participation in Kosovo's political life is one of the key elements of an EU-brokered deal that seeks to settle the dispute over Kosovo and unlock EU funds.