Kosovo elections were 'violence-free and all-inclusive,' Security Council told

Kosovo elections were 'violence-free and all-inclusive,' Security Council told

Briefing the United Nations Security Council on the recent vote in Kosovo, a top UN official today said the peacekeeping mission in the territory was satisfied with the entire polling process - "from the violence-free campaign to the all-inclusive elections."

In his briefing on the major developments leading up to the 17 November Assembly elections, the Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Hédi Annabi, said the period preceding the polling had been relatively calm.

"All parties, including the Kosovo Serb Return Coalition, carried out rallies throughout Kosovo in a peaceful manner and largely adhered to the electoral rules," he said. "Infringements that went to the Complaint and Appeals Subcommission were relatively minor in nature, and all were adjudicated in a timely manner."

The number of eligible voters was over 1.2 million, with the UN peacekeeping operation (UNMIK) estimating that some 150,000 eligible voters were Kosovo Serbs. The overall turnout was 64.3 per cent of Kosovo's 1.25 million registered voters. Kosovo Serb participation was "patchy," with a higher turnout in the enclaves than in northern Mitrovica, Mr. Annabi said, attributing the discrepancy to an intimidation campaign in northern Kosovo led by those Kosovo Serbs who were against participation.

More than 1,300 candidates from 26 political parties contested the elections, including 60 from the Kosovo Serb Return Coalition, the UN official said. In the final results, the Democratic League of Kosovo won 45.7 per cent of the vote and the Democratic Party of Kosovo won 25.7 per cent, with the Return Coalition accounting for 11.3 per cent and the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo with 7.8 per cent.

Concluding, Mr. Annabi said the election process in Kosovo would provide a solid basis for the institutions of provisional self-government that would now be established in accordance with Security Council resolution 1244 of 1999.