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13 Dec 10

PM Thaci Declares Victory in Kosovo Election

Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has declared victory in Sunday's parliamentary polls, the first in the country since it declared independence in 2008.

With official results not yet in, exit polls show that the prime minister's Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, won 31 per cent of the vote, while the country's second largest party, the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, came in second with 25 per cent.

If Thaci's party is declared the winner, he will still need to find coalition partners in order to form a government.

The exit poll, conducted by the Gani Bobi Centre in Kosovo, also showed that nationalist Albin Kurti and his Vetevendosje party garnered 17 per cent of the vote, while the party of former Kosovo Liberation Army commander Ramush Haradinaj won 12 per cent.

Democracy in Action, a coalition of Kosovo NGOs, published preliminary results this morning that generally mirrored the Gani Bobi exit poll. The data from their 5,000 election monitors, covering 51.8 per cent of the polling stations in the country, show that the PDK garnered 30.69 per cent of the vote, followed by the LDK with 26.2.

Coming in third with 12.28 per cent is Vetevendosje, while Haradinaj's Alliance for the future of Kosovo took fourth place with 10.89 per cent of the vote, Democracy in Action data show.

Official results are expected to be announced on Monday afternoon.

Sunday's snap election was sparked by the collapse of the LDK-PDK coalition government in November.

Kosovo's Central Election Commission, CEC, reports that turnout was 47.8 per cent.

The highest turnout per municipality was in Skenderaj – 93.68 per cent and the lowest was Leposavic in the north of Kosovo, with only 1.51 per cent. Figures show that very few voters went to the polls in the Serb-controlled north.

Parties have until 7pm today to file complaints regarding alleged voter fraud other violations, and the LDK and Vetevendosje have indicated that they plan to submit complaints that voter manipulation occurred in Skenderaj and Drenas, bastions of the PDK.

There have also been complaints that some polling stations opened late due to faulty UV lamps using for verifying voters' fingers, which are sprayed at the time of voting to ensure that voters do not cast their ballots more than once.

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