Kosovo premier claims victory in first poll since independence

Kosovo's prime Minister, Hasim Thaci, claimed victory last night as exit polls put the ruling PDK in the lead in a historic parliamentary election, the first since the unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008.

The polls indicated that the PDK was ahead by six percentage points, gaining 31 per cent of the vote, with its coalition ally, the LDK, receiving 25 per cent. The results suggest that Mr Thaci will seek backing from marginal parties that have won supporters away from the coalition. Both leading parties support EU and Nato membership for Kosovo, continued privatisation of state enterprises and entering talks with neighbouring Serbia.

The early elections were called last month after the ruling coalition collapsed in September. The Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) left the government after the Constitutional Court ruled that its leader, President Fatmir Sejdiu, could not simultaneously be President and leader of a political party, leaving the Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK) without its coalition partner.

Analysts say the elections are the first test for Kosovo's young democracy, where promises of independence meant certain electoral victory in the recent past.

However, the hottest issues among the disillusioned population now are unprecedented poverty and unemployment among 1.6 million voters, along with prevailing corruption that reaches the top echelons of power, and rampant organised crime.

Valdete Daka, head of the Central Election Commission, said that he considered the voting process a "success", and that while there "have been technical hitches" they "have not hurt the process". Yet in the northern town of Mitrovica, ethnic Serbs boycotted the election, suggesting lingering tensions from Kosovo's breakaway from Serbia.

"These elections were organised by a state that does not exist for me and this is the reason why I don't vote," said Dragan Vukosavljevic, a Serb in Mitrovica.

Police made two arrests when a group of 40 Kosovo Serbs in the north of the country protested against the presence of mobile voting booths carried in by trucks.

In Gracanica, a village close to the capital, Pristina, a large number of Serbs turned up at voting stations and hung from the town hall the Serbian, European Union and United States flags, the latter a symbol of hate for Serbs in the past.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links