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news 06 Oct 17

Kosovo Voters Have High Hopes of Capital's New Mayor

With less than a month to go before local elections take place in Kosovo, citizens in the capital, Pristina, say they want to see city services run better.

Die Morina
BIRN
Pristina
The mayoral candidates for Pristina | Photo: Atdhe Mulla

Less than three weeks before polling day in the local elections in Kosovo on October 22, the race is hotting up in the capital, Pristina, where eight candidates are running for the position of mayor.

Voters say their expectations are linked more to basic needs that directly affect their daily lives than political party progammes.

Edona Bajqinca, aged 28, for example, said she wanted to see the new mayor opening more parks, sports and [places for] recreation in the Pristina neighbourhoods.

“I also want to see the Public Housing Enterprise, which deals with regulating and maintaining the entrances of buildings in Pristina, function better. This would improve security in the neighbourhoods, and our health,” she added.

Another issue that concerns many citizens in Pristina is the heavy traffic created by huge numbers of vehicles, especially during office hours.

“I want to see a solution to the very busy traffic in the city. It is my main concern,” Ferdi Noberda, 28, a photographer, said.

Adhurim Mali, a graphic designer, also sees traffic as one of the biggest problems in Pristina.

“I expect the new mayor to do many things, but a primary issue is the traffic. I have lost the will to go out in the city because, even to do the smallest thing, it takes two hours of driving,” he told BIRN.

Mali said bad air and pollution was another concern in Pristina. “The air has been polluted like this for so long,” he added.

Lumturie Voca, 62, says she is generally satisfied with life, but wants to see some municipal services improve. “An expansion in the central heating in the city is necessary,” Voca said.

The current mayor, from the Vetevendosje party, is Shpend Ahmeti, who is standing again.

His rivals include former the Minister of Social Welfare and current MP Arban Abrashi, from the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, a former journalist who has joined the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, Arber Vllahiu, Lirak Celaj, from the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, Selim Pacolli from New Kosovo Alliance, AKR, Shyqiri Bytyqi from the Initiative for Kosovo, NISMA, Rifat Deri runs for Alternative and Avni Cakmaku runing for Fjala [the Word], a religious conservative political party.

Since the war of independence in Kosovo ended in 1999, Pristina has mainly been governed by mayors from the LDK.

In the 2013 elections, however, Ahmeti from Vetevendosje won, having beaten former Prime Minister Isa Mustafa.

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