Kosovo holds municipal vote; Pristina City Hall is top prize
PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Municipal elections held in Kosovo on Sunday are being watched as a test of the parties in the country’s center-right governing coalition, which were determined to capture City Hall in the capital of Pristina.
About 1.9 million voters were eligible to cast ballots in races to elect mayors for 38 municipalities and some 1,000 town hall lawmakers. Runoffs set for Nov. 19 may be needed.
Kosovo’s Central Election Commission reported after the polls closed that voter turnout stood at 44 percent, compared to 46.3 percent four years ago.
Police said three people were arrested when a bus crossed the border from neighboring Serbia carrying more than 50 passengers coming into Kosovo to cast ballots. Two hand grenades and two detonators were found on the bus, police and prosecutors said. Police arrested the bus driver and two leaders of the group of passengers, they said.
Election commission head Valdete Daka said no problems serious enough to affect the integrity of the elections were reported.
The left-wing Self-Determination Party, the biggest opposition party in Kosovo’s parliament, currently runs Pristina. The four governing political parties ran separate mayoral candidates. Their fragile parliamentary coalition holds only a one-vote majority, representing 61 of the 120 members.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Serbia doesn’t recognize the move.
Associated Press writer Llazar Semini contributed from Tirana, Albania.