Kosovo elected the members of the legislative on December 12th, for the first time since the declaration of independence in 2008, but the ways in which the electoral process was organized and held is raising serious questions regarding the accuracy and reliability of the vote.
According to the results, Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo won more than 33 percent of the vote in a field of 29 parties. The leading opposition party, the Democratic League of Kosovo, garnered over 23 percent, while the Self-Determination Movement ran third with just over 12 percent. Prime Minister Thaci now has about 90 days to form a government.
Independent observers were present at polling stations throughout Kosovo and called the voting process largely "effective and efficient," though there were some irregularities during the vote count in several polling locations. American Ambassador to Kosovo Christopher Dell observed 17 polling stations, including in Srbica, where he noted that the ballots in the box exceeded the number of signatures in the voters' book. The U.S. urges the Kosovo elections commission to address the few serious irregularities that occurred. The United States also regrets the atmosphere of threats, intimidation, and violence from Serbian sources directed for weeks against Kosovo Serbs in northern Kosovo that prevented many there from exercising their democratic rights.
In 2008, the majority Muslim and ethnic Albanian territory of Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. Seventy-two countries, including the United States and most of its NATO allies, recognize Kosovo's independence. Serbia, Rusia and Spain are among the most notable exceptions.
Shortly after the vote, the US State Department, considered the elections “a significant milestone in the development of their multi ethnic democracy”. Adding: “Kosovo now faces a test as the votes are counted. Kosovo’s institutions must demonstrate to the public that they’re prepared to defend the integrity of the vote. And we call on Kosovo’s authorities to take the required actions to address irregularities, process complaints and appeals fairly, as well as ensure that the final results of Kosovo’s elections accurately reflect the voters’ intent”.
What it is next? Beyond the political and ethnic instability, the country needs reliable and transparent institutions. A corruption widespread at all levels, including the prime-minister, accused recently of being part of a regional ring trading organs.
The lessons of Kosovo might be the lessons of any country who is first declaring its independence and after is trying to realize what to do and, most importantly, with whom. The national Romanticism is far away and we are soon at the end of the first decade of 2000.
With Serbia getting closer to the EU, many Kosovars might decide that the direct economic advantages and the freedom of working and travelling in the European Union is more advantageous instead of living in a no man's land rotted by institutional incapacity.