Photo: Atdhe Mulla.

Kosovars head to the polls

Kosovo’s parliamentary elections are underway, and hundreds of thousands of people have already made their way to the polls to cast their vote. As voting continues, prime ministerial candidates standing for election deliver messages of encouragement to potential voters. 

Kosovo’s Central Election Commission, CEC, announced on Sunday morning that all the polling stations in Kosovo have opened and the electoral process is running smoothly, with no major incidents reported so far. 

Valdete Daka, the head of CEC, said that in the first four hours of voting, 174,669 people, or 9.6 per cent of eligible voters, have cast their vote. “Based on information from our election monitors, the voting process is going well so far,” she said. The polling stations will remain open until 19:00 on Sunday evening. 

Over 1.9 million people in Kosovo are registered and eligible to vote. During the country’s last parliamentary elections in 2017, voter turnout peaked at 41 per cent. 

Outgoing Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj cast his vote in Prishtina on Sunday morning, inviting the people to take to the polls and do the same.

“I ask all citizens of our country, all, regardless of their political beliefs, to use their vote for themselves… I invite everyone to vote, as it is a great success for Kosovo’s democracy, and everything has gone well up until now,” said Haradinaj.

There are 1,067 candidates across all parties vying for one of the 120 seats in the Kosovo Assembly, with 343 (32 per cent) women and 724 (68 per cent) men running. 

The prime ministerial candidate for Vetevendosje, Albin Kurti, said every person in Kosovo has the chance to use their vote to respond to the actions of those previously in power. 

“The people will answer to all the deeds of political parties and politicians today, as proof of the sovereignty of our republic. Today, it is not important whether you are poor or wealthy, man or woman, today we are all equal,” said Kurti.

There are 25 different political subjects that people in Kosovo can choose from to lead the government. 20 standalone political parties are running, as well as four coalitions and one independent candidate. 

Those heading to the polls will also choose their top five candidates from the political party or coalition they choose to support to take a set at the Assembly for the next mandate.

Vjosa Osmani, the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, prime ministerial candidate, said after she cast her vote that today is a crucial day for Kosovo. “I believe that through a free and demcoratic process, Kosovo will have reason to celebrate,” she said, adding that Kosovars should vote for the future of their children.

The head of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, Kadri Veseli also voted in Prishtina, saying that with this election Kosovo is deciding on its European future.

“Today is a good day, and an extraordinary one for Kosovo. I congratulate all citizens of my country,” he said, adding that voting is a contribution and testament to Kosovo’s “western future” and the future of Kosovo’s youth. 

The head of Lista Srpska, Goran Rakic, said that the voting process is essential for Kosovo Serbs that wish to stay in Kosovo. “These elections are decisive for the Serb citizens in order for them to stay in these spaces in Kosovo and Metohija, so, it is really important that a  huge number of people to go to the polls, in order to tell to those who threaten us and underestimate us that nothing will frighten us away from these spaces,” said Rakic.

The October elections were primarily triggered by the resignation of Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj on July 19. The decision to hold early elections was announced on August 22 by Kosovo President Hashim Thaci after a motion of no confidence was passed in the Kosovo Assembly.

A team of election monitors from the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network will be following the elections throughout the day. Check our website, Facebook and Twitter page for regular updates on the progress of the election process.

06/10/2019 - 12:16

06 October 2019 - 12:16

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.