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Partial re-run of Kosovo vote
Polls held in five municipalities after officials annulled December general election results due to irregularities.
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2011 15:54 GMT
More than 100,000 people in five municipalities of Kosovo are eligible to cast their ballots [EPA]

Polling stations have closed in Kosovo after a partial re-run of December's general election, with international observers keeping a close watch to prevent any fresh fraud.

Voting was held on Sunday in five municipalities where electoral authorities annulled the December poll, the first since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and ordered a rerun due to irregularities which saw a suspiciously high turnout.

Local and international observers had noted in last month's poll a turnout of more than 90 per cent of voters in two municipalities in the Drenica region, which is one of the strongholds of Hashim Thaci, the prime minister.

Around 100 election-monitoring teams consisting of international officials and diplomatic missions' staff were accredited in Pristina and dispatched to observe Sunday's vote.

They "will follow every stage of the election on voting day", the office of Pieter Feith, the European envoy to Kosovo, said on Friday.

Warning against new fraud attempts, Feith said: "Short-term gain at the expense of Kosovo's international reputation is  unwise, particularly at a time when Kosovo needs further international and  European support."

'Demonstrate responsibility'
 
Democracy In Action, a group of local non-government organisations, also dispatched about 500 observers - two for each polling station - and called on  political parties "to demonstrate political responsibility and conduct a fair and democratic race".

More than 100,000 people were eligible to cast their ballots.

Observers predict that the result will have little effect on the overall outcome of the elections with Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) still the largest party in parliament.

Preliminary results in December gave the PDK 33.5 per cent of the vote, with the leading opposition Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) trailing on 23.6 per cent.

Isa Mustafa, the LDK leader and mayor of Pristina mayor, has called for new elections saying that democracy was "being violated on a large scale in Kosovo".

Kosovo's constitutional court also ordered a repeat ballot in the biggest northern town of Mitrovica.

The fresh vote is expected to be held later this month, with Kosovo expecting to have a new government by February.

Source:
Agencies
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