Kosovo Holds Early Elections

World | June 8, 2014, Sunday // 11:07|  views

Incumbent Hashim Thaci is seeking a third term as Prime Minister. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Kosovo is holding early elections on Sunday.

The snap elections were called in May after Serb lawmakers blocked a vote on establishing a national army. The vote was originally scheduled for November.

Prime Minister Hashim Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) is hoping to win the elections, its main rival being the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) of Isa Mustafa, according to reports of the BBC News.

A victory of PDK will give Thaci a third term in office.

A total of 1,782,454 eligible voters will be able to cast ballots to elect 120 Members of Parliament for 3-year terms in office.

The threshold to enter parliament is 5% for political parties and 7% for coalitions, according to inserbia.info.

Kosovo's Parliament has 20 seats reserved for minority communities, including 10 for Kosovo Serbs and 10 for the Roma, Ashkali, Egyptian, Bosniak, Turkish and Gorani communities.

The early elections are taking place amid a difficult economic situation, including an official unemployment rate of around 35% and youth unemployment of 55%. Nearly 50% of Kosovo's 1.8 million people are considered to be poor and 12% live in extreme poverty.

Although Serbian authorities still reject Kosovo's independence, they have encouraged the ethnic Serb community to take part in the elections in a bid to strengthen the 2013 EU-brokered deal aiming to normalize relations between the two countries.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has said it would "unwise" for the Serbs to abstain from the vote.

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Tags: kosovo, early elections, EU integration, EU accession, Hashim Thaci


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