ELECTIONS|AFP – Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s party was on top in local polls held over the weekend, the first election here since the territory declared independence, preliminary results showed Tuesday.
Thaci’s Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) won a majority in 16 of 36 municipalities in Kosovo, while the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) of President Fatmir Sejdiu was in control of eight local councils, Nesrin Lushta of the electoral commission said.
“The results are still preliminary” as the votes were still being counted, Lushta said.
Some 45 percent of 1.5 million eligible voters cast their ballots in the elections on Sunday, seen as an important test for the newly declared state to organise free, fair and peaceful elections.
Belgrade had called on Kosovo minority Serbs to boycott the polls, but some cast ballots in parts of Kosovo. Serbia refuses to recognise the independence of Kosovo, where 90 percent of the population is ethnic Albanian.
Lushta said Serbs won majorities in four municipalities in central Kosovo, where they make up the majority of population.
The election commission said Monday the PDK won mayoral posts in five municipalities, while its candidates would go to a run-off in another 16, according to preliminary results.
Sejdiu’s LDK won the top post in the capital Pristina and in some smaller municipalities.
Kosovo seceded from Serbia in February 2008 but Belgrade fiercely opposes the move.
So far 63 countries have recognised the young state, including the United States and all but five EU members.