Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci poses while casting his ballot at a polling station in Pristina, Kosovo, on Nov. 15, 2009. Kosovo citizens went to polls on Sunday in local elections, the first since its unilateral declaration of independence in February 2008, while its leaders consider the elections as the biggest challenge and test for Kosovo institutions.(Xinhua Photo)
PRISTINA, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said Monday that his Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) has emerged the winner in most municipalities in Sunday's local elections.
The ruling party prevailed in about 70 percent of the municipalities in Kosovo's first local elections since its self-declared independence from Serbia, Thaci said.
"PDK is the winner of these elections," Thaci told his party's supporters early Monday. He called the elections a victory for the democracy of Kosovo.
According to unofficial results, most municipalities will have to hold a second round of voting on Dec. 13, because the initial balloting failed to produce a winner.
However, President Fatmir Sejdiu's Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) has claimed an absolute victory in the capital city Pristina, where the party won the mayor's post and a majority in the local assembly.
According to Nestrin Lushta, the head of the Central Election Commission, 45.36 percent of of eligible voters cast ballots.
The turnout was much lower in Serb-dominated areas, including 23 percent in Gracanica, 12 percent in Ranillug and 25 percent in Klokot.
A low turnout of Serbs was also recorded in three Serb-dominated municipalities in northern Kosovo. In Leposavic, Zubin Potok and Zvecan less than 1 percent of the eligible voters showed up at the polling stations.
No serious incidents were reported during the voting.
A breakaway province of Serbia, ethnic Albanian-dominated Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in February 2008. However, Serbia has vowed it would never recognize Kosovo's independence, regarding the move illegal and contradicting international law.
Kosovo holds local elections
PRISTINA, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Kosovo citizens are voting Sunday in local elections, the first since its unilateral declaration of independence in February 2008, while its leaders consider the elections as the biggest challenge and test for Kosovo institutions. Full story