Pristina, Kosovo. A snap election in Kosovo is showing nothing too out of the ordinary so far in vote counting in the once war torn nation. Kosovo’s election authorities say that preliminary figures put turnout in the country’s general election at 41.79 percent.
Kosovo citizens have started to cast their ballots in an early general election for the new 120-seat parliament. Kosovo’s Central Election Commission head Valdete Daka says that “there have been no problems that would gravely damage the process.”
The turnout is smaller than in the previous polls, for example in 2014, when it was 42.63 percent. But it’s still a preliminary figure that may increase when final tallies are made. Voting started at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) and ended at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT).
The exit polls for Klan Kosovo TV station has put the coalition of former ethnic Albanian rebel commanders first with 40 percent of the vote, the nationalists of the Movement for Self-determination came in second with 30 percent while the coalition led by former prime minister Isa Mustafa is third with 27 percent of the vote.
At stake are thorny issues of the border demarcation deal with Montenegro that brought down the previous government, the approval of another deal with Serbia giving more rights to the ethnic Serb minority and the continuation of fraught talks with Belgrade, which denies Kosovo’s existence as a state.
The poll asked 2,500 voters outside polling stations and its organizer said its margin of error was 1.5 percent.
Blerand Stavileci, spokesman of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, one of the coalition partners, invited supporters to a winning rally at the Skanderbeg Square in the capital, Pristina. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. It is recognized by 114 countries, including the United States and most of the EU members.
Russian President Vladimir Putin described the recognition of Kosovo’s independence by several major world powers as “a terrible precedent, which will de facto blow apart the whole system of international relations, developed not over decades, but over centuries”, and that “they have not thought through the results of what they are doing. At the end of the day it is a two-ended stick and the second end will come back and hit them in the face”