Photo: Atdhe Mulla.

Mayoral candidates head to runoffs in major Kosovo municipalities

After Sunday’s vote, several of Kosovo’s major municipalities, including Prishtina, will head to runoff elections based on preliminary data from the Kosovo Central Election Commission.

Thirty-eight municipalities across Kosovo held municipal elections on Sunday, with an overall voter turnout of about 44 per cent according to the Kosovo Central Election Committee, CEC.

Although CEC has yet to publish its final results, preliminary results, which do not account for conditional ballots, special-needs voters, or votes by mail, show that rival parties will go to runoff elections in several municipalities.

Based on about 90 per cent of ballots counted, in Prishtina, incumbent Mayor Shpend Ahmeti from Vetevendosje, with 43.42 per cent of the vote, will go to runoffs with Arban Abrashi from the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, who won 35.91 per cent of the vote.

Other key municipalities are set to go to runoffs too, including Prizren (PDK vs. Vetevendosje), Gjilan (LDK vs. Vetevendosje), Ferizaj (PDK vs. LDK), and South Mitrovica (PDK vs. AKR).

Gjakova, where incumbent Mayor Mimoza Kusari-Lila, a candidate with the new party Alternativa and one of only eight women mayoral candidates, will compete in a runoff with Ardian Gjini of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK.

Several other municipalities look likely to go to runoffs, including Kamenica (LDK vs. Vetevendosje), Vushtrri (PDK vs. LDK), Istog (LDK vs. AAK), Klina (PDK vs. AAK), Shtime (PDK vs. independent Fatmir Rashiti), Suhareka (AAK vs. LDK), Kacanik (PDK vs. Vetevendosje), Dragash (LDK vs. PDK), Rahovec (AAK vs PDK), Malisheva (NISMA vs. PDK), Kllokot (Srpska Lista vs. Bozidar Dejanovic of the Citizens’ Initiative Klokot-Vrbovac), Obilic (AAK vs. LDK), and with a close call, Podujevo (LDK vs. Vetevendosje).

The Belgrade backed Serbian List, Srpska Lista, won nine Serb-majority municipalities: North Mitrovica, Gracanica, Strpce, Zvecan, Zubin Potok, Leposavic, Partesh, Ranilug, and Novo Brdo.

Meanwhile, LDK has won four municipalities: Peja, Fushe Kosove, Lipjan, and Viti. AAK won Decan and Junik, and the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, won its stronghold of Drenas.

Two independent candidates won in Hani i Elezit and in Skenderaj; Bekim Jashari, the nephew of late KLA commander Adem Jashari, won Skenderaj with a candidacy backed by PDK, NISMA, and AAK.

CEC’s preliminary results are subject to change when the final data is published.

As exit polls and preliminary data started being published, three of the biggest political parties began claiming victories.

After doubling its votes in the June 11 general elections, Vetevendosje hoped for increased support in local support in yesterday’s elections. At a press conference on Sunday night, Vetevendosje leader Visar Ymeri said that Shpend Ahmeti is the convincing lead for Prishtina.

Lumir Abdixhiku from the LDK said that the party was pleased with the results.

“LDK managed to keep all of the municipalities it previously held… These results confirm the return of LDK to the place it had held, as the biggest party in the country,” he said.  

Meanwhile, at a PDK press conference, Assembly Speaker Kadri Veseli said that PDK was the big winner of Sunday’s elections.

After preliminary results started coming in, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic congratulated Srpska Lista on their victories.  

“I just want to greet you all, to congratulate you on tremendous success, and to say that our people in Kosovo and Metohija have once again shown that they can fight for their survival, but also for their country, Serbia,” Vucic said.

Srpska Lista’s leaders and supporters celebrate in North Mitrovica on Sunday night. | Photo: BETA, Sasa Djordjevic.

Overall, election day way calm. There were however several criminal cases identified by Kosovo Police, including 14 reported incidents.

“With professional and immediate actions, these cases have been successfully managed by the competent authorities, the Kosovo Police, and the State Prosecution,” the Kosovo Police Press Office wrote in a statement.

The statement continues, saying that “it is worth pointing out” that at around 12:40 on Sunday, two hand grenades and two detonators were found on a bus entering Kosovo from Serbia.

“As a result of the work and actions of police officers related to this case, three suspected Serb persons were escorted to the police station,” the press statement reads. “All further actions will be undertaken in consultation and coordination with the competent prosecutors.”

Runoffs must be held four weeks after the elections.

23/10/2017 - 11:43

23 October 2017 - 11:43

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.