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
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Accountant - London - £48,000 - 12 month FTC

£40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: International Acc...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power