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News 12 Jun 17

Kosovo Ex-Warriors and Vetevendosje Celebrate Elections Results

While the Central Election Commission has yet to announce official election results, the main ‘war wing’ coalition and opposition party Vetevendosje are celebrating their results in central Pristina.

Vetevendosje supporters celebrate possible second place in Kosovo snap elections. Photo: Atdhe Mulla

According to election observer group Democracy in Action, DnV, with 87.31 per cent of the polling stations counted, the grand coalition headed by the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, and the Initiative for Kosovo, NISMA, is leading with 33 per cent of votes.

Preliminary results rank Vetevendosje second with 26.6 per cent, and the coalition led by former ruling Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, third with 25.3 per cent.

With the Central Election Commission, CEC, having counted less than 50 per cent of the votes, it is too early to declare the ultimate election winner.

However, supporters of the PDK-AAK-NISMA coalition start to gather for celebration in central Pristina, less than 500 meters apart from hundreds of opposition Vetevendosje supporters gathered in the city centre singing and waving Albanian flags.

Vetevendosje’s result is the most surprising outcome, as it shows the movement has almost doubled in popularity since the 2014 parliamentary election, when it secured just below 14 per cent of the vote.

Although voting was to close at 7pm, some polling stations remained open after the cut-off time to allow people who were still waiting in queues to cast their ballots. The overall voter turnout was 41.4 per cent.

According to the CEC, there were no major incidents reported during the voting process.

However, BIRN revealed on the election morning that the coalition between PDK, AAK, and NISMA were planning to infiltrate polling stations with politically affiliated observers registered as members of civil society group called the Regional Institute for Democracy, Human Rights and Political Studies.

Out of 8,800 accredited observers from local NGOs, over half – 4,548 observers – are from this NGO.

Blerand Stavileci, PDK’s head of communications, did not outright deny the allegations, saying “we do not consider that there is a problem.”

The snap elections were called when the Kosovo government fell before its mandate should have ended, after 78 MPs backed a vote of no confidence against the administration.

The opposition has been demanding elections for two years, mainly because of controversial agreements that the government signed in Brussels in 2015 on the border demarcation with Montenegro – which is still to be voted on in parliament – and on establishing an autonomous Association of Serb-majority municipalities.

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