Fraud Forces Kosovo Elections Re-Runs

Elections are expected to be re-run in Prizren, Gjilan and Lipjan because of ‘serious fraud and vote stealing’ during the December 13 Kosovo mayoral run-off.

The Election Commission on Appeals and Complaints, ECAC, has asked the Central Election Commission, CEC, to rerun the poll in these municipalities after investigations revealed serious irregularities.

“Based on our investigation results, ECAC has determined that there was cheating and huge vote stealing in the three municipalities,” ECAC’s decision reads.
ECAC received complaints about 34 out of 60 polling centres in Prizren, 21 out of 31 polling centres in Gjilan and 15 out of 26 polling centres in Lipjan. ECAC found serious irregularities and/or intentional election fraud in the majority of the polling centres.

The mayoral election race in these three municipalities was between the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK and Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, which currently form a fragile government coalition. The results in all three towns are close, with PDK and LDK sharing almost half of the votes in Prizren, Gjilan and Lipjan.

“Annulment of more then 50 per cent of polling stations would not completely express the will of people in those municipalities,” the ECAC decision reads.
CEC spokesperson Fehmi Ajvazi told Balkan Insight: “CEC will review the matter today. The problem is very clear.

“Certainly, if CEC decide on a rerun, there is no chance of having the third round this year.”

He added that ECAC had recommended to the CEC that all commissioners be changed, that there is more police presence in polling stations and more presence of CEC officials for the rerun.

PDK, Kosovo’s biggest party, said on Sunday that it would not contest ECAC’s recommendation, paving the way for the CEC to order a rerun at a meeting later today.
Officials from LDK and PDK said over the weekend that the governing coalition is in political crisis and they believe that early elections will be held in spring 2010.
Zafir Berisha, MP and chairman of the PDK branch in Prizren, said that the latest developments and the second round of elections are a clear signal that PDK and LDK cannot govern together.

ujar Bukoshi, an MP representing the LDK, said that the current coalition is in crisis and is not functioning.

But Government spokesman Memli Krasniqi dismissed claims of a coalition crisis.

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