Kosovo PM's party leads first successful polls of new Balkan state

Kosovo PM's party fared best in local elections held, the first polls since the declaration of independence from Serbia last year, preliminary results showed.

Kosovo PM's party leads first successful polls of new Balkan state


The Kosovo prime minister's party fared best in local elections held on Sunday, the first polls since the declaration of independence from Serbia last year, preliminary Election Commission results showed.

Outright victories were announced on Monday in 16 of the 36 municipalities, and run-offs will be held in one month's time between the top two contenders in the remaining 20 towns.

- Prime Minister Hashim Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) won 5 municipalities.

- Former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj's Alliance for the Future of Kosovo won 4 towns.

- President Fatmir Sejdiu's Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) won 3 towns.

- Three municipalities will be run by two Serb mayors and one municipality by a Turkish Kosovar.

Every party promised to help local communities with roads, water and jobs.

About 1.5 million people were eligible to vote.

Darko Aleksov, the head of a European network monitoring elections, said that "Kosovo met many of the international standards for elections."

But the mission noted that "a complex political situation resulted in the inability of a portion of the electorate to exercise its right to vote in some areas."

Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci praised the vote, saying that its citizens "are celebrating because the state of Kosovo has passed the test of democracy."

"We all have risen above party and ethnic flags, uniting around the flag of Kosovo state in order to win, and we have won," Thaci told his supporters gathered at the seat of his Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK).

Thaci said his PDK won control of 20 out of 36 municipalities.

Kosovo's Albanian majority backed by the Western countries declared independence in 2008 nine years after Serbia moved ethnic cleansing in a 1998-1999 war. Nato stopped the Serbian forces in a 78-day bombing.

Kosovo is recognized as an independent state by 62 countries from mostly European Union and also Muslim countries around world such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia.

Mostly Western countries have recognised Kosovo's independence but neither Serbia, its former ruler, nor Russia has done so.

Serbian leaders in Belgrade urged their ethnic kin in Kosovo not to legitimise its independence by taking part in the election, but some of the 120,000 Kosovo Serbs in the southern part of the country did vote.

After the war ended in 1999, elections in Kosovo were run by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Sunday's are the first polls to be organised by local authorities.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Kasım 2009, 08:19
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