Kosovo PM Declares Elections Valid, Internationals Condemn Violence
Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has declared that Sunday's municipal elections were valid, despite the violence and boycotts of ethnic Serbs.
Masked men stormed several polling stations in the northern town of Mitrovica, a Serb-dominated region, causing their early closure. Several people were injured in the attacks, reports Balkaninsight.
Furthermore, the vote was boycotted by many ethnic Serbs in the north, casting a shadow on the EU-brokered deal to normalize relations between Pristina and Belgrade.
"These isolated incidents won't have a decisive impact on the electoral process", commented Thaci during a press conference on Monday.
The incidents were condemned by the international community, however. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is monitoring the elections, stated that the incidents are harmful to the process of normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia. The EU also condemned the attacks.
Belgrade had urged Serbs in their stronghold in north Kosovo, to take part in the Pristina-run polls for the first time, as Serbia seeks to advance its EU ambitions.
However, some local Serbs in Kosovo, have strongly opposed giving any legitimacy to the Pristina authorities since they claimed independence in 2008.
According to preliminary figures from Kosovo's election commission, 47.83 per cent of eligible voters turned out to cast their ballots, but the Serb-dominated constituency in the north has yet to declare turnout figures from polling stations which shut early.
The election commission has not announced preliminary results yet, but according to figures published online by iVote, a company working for the commission, there will be a second round in 24 municipalities out of 38.