Exit Polls Reveal Vetevendosje Projected as Kosovo’s Election Winner

Kosovo’s opposition Vetevendosje party is projected to be the winner of Sunday's snap parliamentary elections.
Exit polls published by many Kosovo television stations immediately after the vote closed, put Albin Kurti’s party far ahead of their rivals, the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, and the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, with 53 to 55 seats in a 120 seated parliament.
Polling stations closed at 7pm and according to electoral observers voter turnout stood at 37 percent of Kosovars vote by 4pm.
"Kosovo as an independent state, this Sunday, is turning to its people as the source of sovereignty. We should vote with love for the country," the leader of Vetevendosje Albin Kurti said after casting his ballot on Sunday in Pristina.
Electoral observers from the local NGO coalition “Democracy in Action” announced that around 670,000, of Kosovo’s registered voters had casted their ballots by 4pm.
Around 1.8 million voters had the right to cast ballots in the elections for a new parliament, the sixth in less than 14 years.
More than 1,000 MP candidates from 28 political entities were in the electoral lists.
Even these elections have not gone without irregularities, as the Central Electoral Commission decided at 2:30 in the afternoon to allow voters with expired IDs to cast their ballots. However, many who had expired IDs had already been declined the opportunity to vote in polling stations earlier in the day.
Conditional voting for citizens who could not find their names in the final voting lists has also been an obstacle, as polling stations had a lack of proper envelopes used to send these ballots. Special polling stations have separate places for conditional voting and normal voting. Citizens have been queuing for hours, causing much ruckus and many disobeying social distancing measures in the process.
Additionally, 3 percent of polling stations across the country opened later than the designated 7:00 a, starting time. A few incidents between commissioners, or commissioners with citizens, have also occurred so far.
The Ministry of Infrastructure has claimed that travelling is possible despite heavy snowfall across much of the country, however, many citizens, as well as BIRN Kosovo’s teams on the ground, have reported that access to polling stations has been difficult due to many roads being blocked by snow.
Meanwhile, the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, commissioner, Sara Xhaka, has reported that in the “Aziz Sylejmani” polling station in North Mitrovica, citizens were seen voting two to four times.
The Serbian Government’s Office for Kosovo said that members of two television newsrooms, TV Kraljevo and TV Pink, were not allowed to enter Kosovo and report on Sunday’s parliamentary election.
According to an institute press release, the TV Kraljevo crew was returned to Serbia on Sunday, while members of the TV Pink newsroom “waited for more than 4 hours at the crossing” on Saturday evening and then were said they could not enter Kosovo.
Journalists’ Association of Serbia condemned this move, saying it was “serious violation of the right to freedom of journalistic work and information”.
Albania's Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Olta Xhaçka, recognised Kosovo on this election day.
“A great day for Kosovo. We wish for a calm and civic competition, as Kosovo citizens deserve. This is a decisive time for Albanians in Kosovo, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro and everywhere. A time to show Europe and the world maturity and wisdom,” Olta Xhaçka said on Twitter.
Sunday’s vote was held against an economic downturn caused primarily by the coronavirus pandemic. Kosovo has reported over 64,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 1,500 deaths.
Depending on the outcome of the final result , Vetevendosje may have to join forces with either the now-ruling Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) or the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK). Each of those parties has received about 20 percent in recent voter polls.
The former leaders of the PDK are on trial at an international war crimes tribunal in The Hague, where they face war crimes and other charges related to the war.
/Compiled by argumentum.al