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news 19 Nov 17

Kosovo Votes in Second Round of Local Elections

Polling stations opened at 7am on Sunday in Kosovo for the second round of the local elections, in 19 municipalities where no one claimed victory in round one.

Die Morina

Voting in Pristina on October | Photo: Atdhe Mulla

Voters in Kosovo on Sunday will elect mayors in 19 out of 38 municipalities, including the capital, Pristina, where none of the candidates won more than half the votes during the first round of the local elections held on October 22.

The results from round one, on October 22, indicated a significant increase in the popularity of the opposition Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, compared to its vote in the general elections held in June.

After winning four municipalities and securing a run-off in ten more, the LDK was on a path to increasing its previous score. In the last local elections, the party won nine municipalities.

Like the LDK, the main ruling in Kosovo, the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, enters the second round with contenders in 10 municipalities. In the first round it won only in its stronghold of Drenas/Glogovac.

The PDK has a lot more at stake, as in the last local elections it won 10 municipalities, one more than the LDK.

Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj's junior ruling party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, won two municipalities in the first round and is in the run-off for five others. It won in three municipalities in the last local elections.

The biggest surprise during the first round was the poor showing of the opposition Vetevendosje party, which became the biggest opposition party in the country after the June general election.

Despite its high hopes for the local elections, Vetevendosje failed to win a single municipality in the first round, but went into a run-off in six.

However, Vetevendosje has a good chance of maintaining control over the capital, Pristina, the prize win at the elections, and the only area where it won the mayor's seat in the previous local elections.

In the first round, Vetevendosje's candidate, the incumbent mayor, Shpend Ahmeti, won 43.61 per cent of the votes. Arban Abrashi, from the LDK, won 35.61 per cent.

For the LDK to turn the tide in Pristina, it will need the support of voters of other parties, including fans of the main ruling PDK.

In the Serbian political bloc, the junior ruling party, Lista Srpska, as expected, won in nine Serb-dominated rural municipalities.

The only Serb-dominated municipality seeing a runoff is Kllokot/Klokot, where Lista Srpska again has the lead.

Days before the first round of the municipal elections, the Pristina-based GAP Institute published a report on citizens’ expectations.

According this report, released in October, over 70 per cent of citizens believe the local elections will bring about some positive changes.

However, only 7 per cent said they were fully convinced that such positive changes would happen right after the elections.

Polling stations close at 7pm and the first results from the State Election Commission are expected later on Sunday evening and on Monday.

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