This preliminary statement of the EU election observation mission (EU EOM) is delivered before the completion of the entire electoral process. Critical stages remain, including tabulation of results and adjudication of petitions. The EU EOM is now only in a position to comment on observation undertaken to date, and will later publish a final report, including full analysis and recommendations for electoral reform. The EU EOM may also make additional statements on election-related matters as and when it considers it appropriate.
The 17 October municipal elections were well organised and fundamental freedoms were respected during the campaign. A plurality of contestants offered voters a real choice with the exception of the Kosovo-Serb municipalities where political competition was limited. Women were underrepresented in mayoral races and generally in party structures. While traditional canvassing was low-key, the online campaign was vibrant. Campaign financing was not transparent. The media contributed to informing voters by organising inclusive debates. Longstanding deficiencies in the legal framework remain unaddressed as well as nearly all previous EU election recommendations.
The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has been present in Kosovo since 5 September following an invitation by the president of Kosovo. The Mission is led by Chief Observer, Mr Lukas Mandl, Member of the European Parliament (Austria). In total, the EU EOM deployed 94 observers from 24 EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland across Kosovo to assess the whole electoral process against international obligations and commitments for democratic elections as well as the Kosovo legislation. A delegation of the European Parliament, headed by Ms Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, MEP, also joined the mission and fully endorses this Statement. On election day, observers visited some 400 polling stations in 37 municipalities of Kosovo to observe voting and counting. The EU EOM is independent in its findings and conclusions and adheres to the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation signed at the United Nations in October 2005.