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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.
Dearth of official events marking third anniversary of independence partially reflects the fact that Kosovo lacks a government right now - but also a feeling that the country is adrift.
The World Court ruling on independence, early general elections and waves of corruption arrests marked a year of political turbulence – but Hashim Thaci remained on top for the time being.
Balkan Insight has learnt that results from one-in-three polling stations require further investigation for fraud, calling into the question results from the whole country.
I’m not sure who said that you campaign in poetry and govern in prose, but in Kosovo’s case, the electioneering for the December 12 poll has been more like ad-lib street rap than Keats or Baudelaire.
Democratic Party of Kosovo is on course for a narrow win in Sunday’s poll but whether it will be able to form a viable coalition is far from clear.
A growing number of Serbian political actors, both in Kosovo and Serbia, realise that the policy of boycotting Kosovar institutions is in fact a denial of reality on the ground.
You never know when you might get that hushed call from the man with the New Jersey brogue telling you that you are about to become president.
Around 1.6million people out of an estimated population of 2million are eligible to vote on December 12, although hundreds of thousands of registered Kosovars live outside of the country and thousands of dead people remain on the electoral roll.