Kosovo reruns vote under heavy scrutiny

PRISTINA – Polls opened on Sunday in five regions in Kosovo, bringing some 100,000 voters back to the ballot box after authorities annulled results from the regions due to vote-rigging, Radio Free Europe reported. Central Election Commission spokesman Fehmi Ajvazi says three regions will hold an entirely new vote and two others a partial vote after their results from the December 12 general election – Kosovo’s first since seceding from Serbia in 2008 – were declared fraudulent.

Some 185 polling stations opened at 7 a.m. with around 100 election watch teams consisting of international officials and diplomatic missions’ staff accredited in Pristina dispatched to monitor the vote. They “will follow every stage of the election on voting day,” the office of the European envoy to Kosovo, Pieter Feith, said in a press release.

Feith, who is the top international official in Kosovo warned, against new fraud attempts. “Short-term gain at the expense of Kosovo’s international reputation is unwise, particularly at a time when Kosovo needs further international and European support,” he said. Officials say the final vote is not likely to change incumbent Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s claim to have won the election but is expected to affect parliamentary seats.

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