World News

Kosovo to hold vote re-run in Thaci strongholds

PRISTINA (Reuters) - Kosovo’s election commission on Thursday ordered a re-run of voting in five areas because of irregularities, an act that may overturn the result of Sunday’s general election, the first since independence from Serbia.

It was not clear how the re-run would affect the lead of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s PDK party, which won 33.5 percent of the vote, but analysts said it might lose 5 percent of its support if there were no fresh irregularities.

European monitors said Sunday’s vote was generally well organised and held in a normal atmosphere but that there were some allegations of fraud.

“The Election Commission has decided on a re-run in the municipalities of Skenderaj, Gllogovc and Decan and partly in the municipalities of Malishevo and Lipjan,” said Valdete Daka, head of the Central Election Comission.

Daka said the re-run would take place on January 9.

A report by the Council of Europe published Tuesday accused Thaci of heading a mafia-style organised crime ring in the late 1990s. Thaci rejected the report and said he would use all political and legal means to bring the truth to light.

Rather than denting his support, the allegations, similar to ones made by Serbia, may lead some people to rally behind him and back him in the polling booth. The re-run will happen mainly in strongholds of Thaci’s PDK and his birthplace.

Thaci has told Reuters he has had many offers to form a coalition, including some from those who said during the election campaign they would not form an alliance with him.

The Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), his former junior coalition partner, came second Sunday with 23.6 percent. Its leader Isa Mustafa asked for a complete re-run of the vote.

Two other small parties that have not passed the threshold of five percent said they would not recognise the final results.

Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; editing by Benet Koleka and Tim Pearce