Kosovo holds municipal run-off elections for 21 mayor positions

Kosovo holds municipal run-off elections for 21 mayor positions

PRISTINA — Kosovo held run-off municipal elections on Sunday in nearly two-thirds of the country after opposition center-right parties dominated in the first round.

About 1.26 million voters in the small Balkan country were eligible to cast their ballots in the second round of electing mayors in 21 of the 38 municipalities. The initial participation rate was 38.4% on Sunday.

Did not win the ruling left-wing Self-Determination Party, or Vetevendosje! , which is led by Prime Minister Albin Kurti, could not hold any mayoral positions in the first round, although he advanced in the capital, Pristina, where he nominated the former health minister, Arben Vitya.

The center-right opposition Democratic Party of Kosovo, made up of former independence fighters, the Democratic League of Kosovo and the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, won eight mayoral seats in the first round and are vying for more on Sunday.

In the first round of voting a month ago, the List Srpska party of Kosovo’s ethnic Serb minority, which is close to the Serbian government in Belgrade, won nine out of ten seats in northern Kosovo provinces.

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Dokagin Kourani, an independent analyst, said a crushing loss for the ruling party could have a negative impact “on the overall legitimacy of both the political party and the government.”

“One might also expect early parliamentary elections, sometimes in the next year,” Kourani added.

A team from the European Union was observing the elections.

Kosovo, which has a majority of ethnic Albanians, declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia did not recognize the move.

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