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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, October 21, 2019

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• Election results to be certified early November (Zeri)
• ECAP rejects counting of diaspora ballots (Klan Kosova)
• Vucic: No one has offered us border correction or partition of Kosovo (Zeri)
• Vetevendosje confirms Kurti was not injured in car accident in Tirana (Bota Sot)
• Lushtaku comments on PDK’s election defeat (T7/Bota Sot)
• “AKR will have three MPs” (Epoka e Re)
• Slobodan Petrovic on election results: We were robbed (Klan Kosova)
• Thaci welcomes Alexander Soros’ call to debate (RTK)
• Protest in support of Kurdish people in Pristina faces opposition (KP/Koha)

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  • Election results to be certified early November (Zeri)
  • ECAP rejects counting of diaspora ballots (Klan Kosova)
  • Vucic: No one has offered us border correction or partition of Kosovo (Zeri)
  • Vetevendosje confirms Kurti was not injured in car accident in Tirana (Bota Sot)
  • Lushtaku comments on PDK’s election defeat (T7/Bota Sot)
  • “AKR will have three MPs” (Epoka e Re)
  • Slobodan Petrovic on election results: We were robbed (Klan Kosova)
  • Thaci welcomes Alexander Soros’ call to debate (RTK)
  • Protest in support of Kurdish people in Pristina faces opposition (KP/Koha)

Election results to be certified early November (Zeri)

The paper reports that early November is the likeliest timeframe for the Central Election Commission (CEC) to certify results of 6 October early parliamentary elections. In previous elections in 2014 and 2017, the paper recalls that the CEC needed about a month to come out with official results.

CEC spokesperson Valmir Elezi said they are trying to close the process at least in line with the timeframes of previous elections. “In 2014, it took 27 days from the voting day to the certification of final results and in 2017, it took one day more. CEC is doing utmost to stay within the same timeline,” Elezi said.

At the same time, the recount of ballots in 530 polling stations is still going on at the Counting and Results Centre and by yesterday, 265 were counted.

ECAP rejects counting of diaspora ballots (Klan Kosova)

The Election Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) has decided to refuse the counting of 4,639 ballots from Diaspora after it concluded they reached the Central Election Commission following the expiration of deadline.

Vetevendosje Movement and organisation Germin had filed a complaint with ECAP asking it to allow the counting of 4,639 ballots from Kosovo voters abroad.

Bugajski: White House believes it can resolve Kosovo-Serbia dispute (Koha)

Janus Bugajski, U.S. expert on Western Balkans, said in an interview with the paper that the U.S. believes it can find a solution to the dispute between Kosovo and Serbia and hence there is an increased focus of the U.S. administration.

“With a new government in Pristina taking shape and impending general elections in Belgrade, I think the two capitals are likely to have aversion to the danger. If the goal is ‘normalisation’, the two countries would then have to recognise each other’s status as independent countries and this is something that few, if any, politicians in Belgrade are ready to accept. Negotiations need to focus on steps towards normalisation and in what each side is willing to give up for the sake of broader interests. This is something that will have to be determined in the coming months,” Bugajski said.

As for the land swap option, Bugajski said it remains up in the air but has not been “enthusiastically embraced” by Washington. “However, there is no reason why [Richard] Grenell would not challenge the parties privately on whether they are ready to accept exchange of territories or if Kosovo would surrender a part of its territory in exchange for recognition from Serbia and elimination of barriers to international integration. Nothing should be taken off the table, except the undoing of Kosovo’s status as an independent country.”

Speaking about the projected winner of Kosovo election, Albin Kurti, Bugajski said he is in a “unique” position and it will be difficult for Belgrade to try to stain him by accusing him of war crimes or corruption. “In the foreign affairs side, he is not likely to be enticed into an agreement that would damage Kosovo and I think we will prove himself to be a difficult but rational negotiator that can work with U.S. representatives.”

Vucic: No one has offered us border correction or partition of Kosovo (Zeri)

President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, said he was never offered by anyone the option of border correction or partition of Kosovo.

“People find it easier to say we are against partition or border correction but I ask: Who has offered us this? No one has ever offered us this, unfortunately, because to them Kosovo is independent and sovereign and period,” Vucic is quoted to have said in an interview with Serbian media outlet TV Prva.

Commenting on the several members of the Central Election Commission in Kosovo being taken ill and suspected of being exposed to toxic substances in the counting of ballots process, Vucic said there was no truth in these reports. “The Serbian List has won so many votes in Kosovo that this has had an infectious result. The other infection has to do with their calculations of whether to include Pacolli’s party.”

Vetevendosje confirms Kurti was not injured in car accident in Tirana (Bota Sot)

Vetevendosje has confirmed that its leader Albin Kurti was not injured in a traffic accident his car was involved in while travelling on Tirana-Durres motorway. “Everything is fine. There was an accident but no one was hurt,” Vetevendosje media office said.

Kurti was in Tirana yesterday to celebrate results in Kosovo elections but did not meet Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. “I am going back to Kosovo tonight but I will meet Albanian prime minister very soon. It’s a matter of days rather than weeks,” Kurti told the media.

Lushtaku comments on PDK’s election defeat (T7/Bota Sot)

Head of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) branch in Skenderaj, Sami Lushtaku, spoke to T7 saying he remains by his statement before elections that someone needs to be held accountable if PDK does not win. He said he will address this issue with party leader Kadri Veseli but is waiting for him to “sober up” from the election result.

“Once he sobers up, we will have a chance to speak about everything,” Lushtaku said.

“AKR will have three MPs” (Epoka e Re)

New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) senior member Fatmir Matoshi said in a front-page interview to the paper that he is confident that the NISMA – AKR – PD coalition will cross the election threshold after the recount of votes from 530 polling stations and that AKR will have three MPs in the new Assembly. “Our coalition has asked for a total recount of votes. The request was not approved. The CEC however decided on a vote recount in some stations in different municipalities. During the recount it is apparent that there were many irregularities and that our coalition was damaged. The correction of these errors will translate into a more positive result for the AKR – NISMA – PD coalition,” Matoshi said.

Slobodan Petrovic on election results: We were robbed (Klan Kosova)

Slobodan Petrovic, leader of the Independent Liberal Party (SLS) said on Sunday that he does not accept the current results from the snap parliamentary elections, claiming that it is apparent that his party “was robbed”. “The elections are not over yet, votes are still being counted and we are confident that if not four, we have at least three MPs. We have seen many irregularities and there is evidence from polling stations that clearly show that our votes disappeared, and we have raised our voices about this for several days in a row. We want these ballot boxes to be opened and votes to be recounted,” Petrovic said. He added that it is impossible for a party that has 4,300 members to win only 2,000 votes. Petrovic also said that his party had notified the prosecution and police about alleged manipulations and that they will file a complaint with the Central Election Commission.

Thaci welcomes Alexander Soros’ call to debate (RTK)

The news website reports that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has replied to a tweet by Alexander Soros, deputy chair of Open Society Foundation, who said that “there is an underlining prejudice and bigotry towards ethnic Albanians in Western Europe, which should not be underestimated in the rejection of Albania and N Macedonia at the council. Europe must confront its Albanophobia!” President Thaci tweeted: “We should leave no taboo and let no prejudices and stereotypes prevent us to have a meaningful debate about the relationship between the Balkans and the EU. In this light, I welcome the invitation by Alex Soros to such a debate.”

Protest in support of Kurdish people in Pristina faces opposition (KP/Koha)

A protest in Pristina was organised on Saturday by the Kosovo Women’s Network to express solidarity with the Kurdish people and oppose Turkish forces’ offensive on the Rojava region in Syria.

The #RiseUp4Rojava demonstrations have taken place in several world capitals but in Pristina they were faced with opposition by a group of people saying the protest was in support of terrorism.

Igballe Rugova from the Kosovo Women’s Network meanwhile said the protest is not against the Turkish people but against Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rule.  “We have joined this worldwide protest to show solidarity with the Kurdish people,” she said.

In response to Pristina protest, the Democratic Turkish Party of Kosovo held a demonstration in Prizren in support of the Tukish operation in Syria.

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