Kosovo PM claims election victory

The people of Kosovo have voted in local elections – the first poll since the territory declared independence from Serbia last year.

Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s ruling PDK coalition has claimed a “convincing” victory, but official results are due in the next few hours.

Voting passed off calmly, with turnout among minority Serbs thought to be higher than expected in some areas. 

Election authorities put the overall turnout at about 45%.

“I am very pleased to announce… that the Democratic Party of Kosovo is the convincing winner of these elections,” the party’s deputy chairman, Hajredin Kuci said.

Observers are expected to announce on Monday if the vote met international standards – a crucial goal in Kosovo’s search for wider recognition.

The Kosovo government had been keen to ensure a free and fair election in which both the majority Albanians and the Serb minority take part.

Security was tight, especially in Serb areas where some say they fear attacks by other Serbs if they vote.

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