PRISTINA, 13 June 2017 – The Chief Observer, Mr Alojz Peterle, Member of the European Parliament, presented today the preliminary findings of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) on the 11 June early legislative elections in Kosovo.
“The 11 June 2017 early elections were genuinely competitive and peaceful in most parts of Kosovo. Voters were generally offered pluralistic information on the political forces in competition,” said Mr Peterle today at a press conference in Pristina. “However, the elections were negatively impacted by long-standing weaknesses, in particular inaccurate voter lists that are vulnerable to fraud, an electoral system open to abuse, and a largely flawed system for Out-of-Kosovo voting.”
“These matters will require political will and commitment to conduct the necessary reforms,” said Mr Peterle.
The EU EOM assessed that “in Kosovo Serb majority areas, the election process was marred by intimidation and instances of violence from within the Kosovo Serb community against candidates and voters. There was also an insufficient response from prosecutors and police to these incidents.” Mr Peterle said that “this raises questions over the credibility of the democratic process in those areas.”
Election day was calm and no major incident was observed by the EU EOM, including in the north of Kosovo. Polling was overall assessed positively. Observers noted, however, a high incidence of family voting, instances of abusive voter assistance, and the excessive presence of observers from two political entities in breach of the law. The vote count procedures were not always followed, underscoring the need for better training of polling staff.
The Central Election Commission was considered by the EU EOM to be politically inclusive, operating largely transparently, and had made efforts to deliver a transparent and genuine process.
Igor Šoltes, the Head of the delegation from the European Parliament, urged the Kosovo authorities to act to address previously identified shortcomings: “There were clear recommendations regarding the timeframe necessary to prepare elections.” On the decision to hold early elections in the shortest possible timeframe, Mr Šoltes said: “The consequences of this choice are visible, from the quality of the voters’ lists, to the possibility for voters outside Kosovo to vote, or to the preparedness of the election management bodies.”
The EU EOM deployed around 100 observers across Kosovo on election day from EU Member States as well as Norway and Switzerland. The EU EOM will remain in Kosovo to follow the process at the Counting and Results Centre and the resolution of any complaints and appeals, until the declaration of final results.