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11 Jan 11

Kosovo Parties Renew Calls for New Elections

Several political parties in Kosovo say new elections should be held throughout the country because of considerable election fraud committed during the poll held on December 12.

Petrit Collaku

The renewed calls for fresh elections come as Kosovo held full revotes in three constituencies on January 9 after instances of fraud were observed during the December poll. The Central Election Commission, CEC, ordered the new votes to take place in Skenderaj and Drenas after dubiously high turnouts of 94 and 86 per cent respectively were reported.

Kosovo's second largest party, the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, has repeatedly pushed for new polls, arguing that the snap elections held in December were illegitimate.

Arben Gashi, one of the party's candidates for parliament, said: "LDK has many reasons to call new elections. There was massive fraud and as such the legitimacy of the elections was brought into question."

He said the results from the 40 per cent of polling stations recounted haven't yet been published, and the outcome of the recount is not yet known.

"Another reason is that 12 per cent of general ballots are invalid," Gashi told Balkan Insight.

He added that new polls in the northern city of Mitrovica prove that there has been serious election fraud throughout Kosovo.

Elections in Mitrovica are scheduled to be held in January 23 after a court decision last Friday found irregularities in some 16 polling stations there.

Vetevendosje, the Self-determination movement, also argues that the December elections are illegitimate because of the numerous instances of fraud and manipulation.

Glauk Konjufca, an MP candidate from Vetevendosje, said that the new parliament would be formed by people who had committed fraud and manipulated the process.

"With the December 12 elections, Kosovo did not pass the test of democracy," Konjufca told Balkan Insight. He added that the expected revote in Mitrovica proved that fraud was not only evident in a few regions, but could be found countrywide.

"Self-determination could not submit complaints [to the CEC] in time because of the short 24 hour deadline but certainly many municipalities would be in the same situation," he said.

The re-voting in five municipalities on January 9 was observed by a team from European Parliament led by Ulriche Lunachek and Jutta Seinrisk.

The EP team said that despite the efforts of many activists and individuals, some serious shortcomings underscored insufficient political will during the election of December 12 and January 9.

"The vote took place in an overall calm atmosphere; reports of electoral fraud and intimidation were brought to the attention of the Delegation," a press release from the group reads.

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