Left movement Vetevendosje is considered the favorite in the parliamentary elections in Kosovo.
In Kosovo, a new parliament will be elected on Sunday for the second time in a year and a half. The polling stations opened at 7 a.m. As in 2019, Albin Kurti’s left-wing nationalist movement Vetevendosje (self-determination) is heading for a convincing election victory.
The expectations of leading Kosovar politicians about a record turnout were not fulfilled for the time being.
According to the State Election Commission (KQZ), only 87,151 citizens, or 8.34 percent, had cast their vote by 11 a.m. That is almost two percent less than at the time of the elections in November 2019.
The low temperatures, snowfall and the coronavirus pandemic probably also contributed to this.
Almost 1.8 million citizens who are entitled to vote can cast their votes in 888 polling stations across the country until 7 p.m. By Friday evening, the election commission had also received a good 39,000 votes from Kosovars abroad. 102,000 people had registered for the postal vote.
The first election results are expected on Monday night.
The KQZ President Valdeta Daka, who made use of her right to vote at 7:00 a.m., appealed to citizens to take part in the polls. She pointed out that these would be the first elections in Kosovo to be held by the KQZ alone without the support and advisory role of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
28 parties and alliances are fighting for 120 parliamentary seats. Most of them will probably not make the necessary three percent hurdle for the leap into parliament.
According to the latest opinion polls, Vetevendosje can count on a good 40 percent of the votes, which is a few percentage points less than in polls in January. It is unclear whether the party will be able to secure an absolute majority in parliament.
The formation of a government could become difficult again if a coalition for a majority government were required. Behind Vetevendosje, the Democratic Party (PDK) with 22.3 percent and the Democratic League (LDK) with 19.3 percent are in a close race for second place.
The Alliance for the Future (AAK) is 7.8 percent.
According to election observers from the non-governmental organization Demokracia ne Veprim (Democracy at Work), coronavirus security measures are fully observed in most polling stations. As previously announced, 300 mobile teams should ensure that infected people can also cast their votes.
This is the sixth parliamentary election since 2008, when the former Serbian province of Kosovo announced its independence. For the first time since the end of the war in 1999, the former President and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci does not play an important role in a Kosovar election.
The Hague since November. Together with three former KLA commanders, he will have to defend himself for war crimes during the war (1998-99).
(WHAT / dpa)