Photo: Atdhe Mulla

by Jack Robinson

An appeal submitted by representatives of Vetevendosje challenging the Election Complaints and Appeals Panel decision to invalidate over 3,700 votes originating from Serbia and cast in the October 6 elections was rejected by the Supreme Court on Thursday.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Kosovo rejected an appeal from three Vetevendosje candidates challenging the decision of the Kosovo Election Complaints and Appeals Panel, ECAP, who ordered the Central Election Commission, CEC, to remove 3,782 votes originating from Serbia from the final results of October 6’s parliamentary election.

ECAP announced on Monday that a complaint made by the coalition between NISMA, the New Kosovo Alliance, AKR, and the Justice Party, PD had been accepted and declared the 3,782 votes sent from Serbia as invalid on the grounds they were delivered by Serbian officials rather than by regular post as required. In previous elections, votes sent from Serbia have been delivered by officials from the OSCE.

Representatives from Vetevendosje filed a challenge at the Supreme Court the following day, with the party’s representative at the CEC, Adnan Rrustemi, stating he was convinced ECAP’s decisions were “essentially political in form.” Rrustemi added that he believes the decision to be an attempt to cost Vetevendosje seats in the Kosovo Assembly.

An appeal against the decision was also filed by candidate for the Kosovo Serb Sloboda coalition Nenad Rasic, though BIRN sources within the Supreme Court stated that this complaint was not submitted on time.

The NISMA-AKR-PD coalition welcomed ECAP’s rulings on Monday, claiming that after the decision, the total number of votes will be fewer and as a result the coalition’s percentage at the recount will be higher. The final results from the Central Election Commission announced on November 7 had given the coalition only 4.9 per cent of the vote, fractionally underneath the five per cent threshold required for parliamentary representation.

NISMA’s secretary, Bilall Sherifi, wrote in a Facebook post on Monday that “ECAP is bringing back legality and confirming what we have constantly said, that with the legal votes NISMA is part of Kosovo’s parliament.” He went on to thank “all those who raised their voices against the tendency to accept as legal the envelopes coming from Serbia in an illegal way.”

NISMA’s head Fatmir Limaj claimed that the coalition are now set to receive six seats when the results are finalized, in turn reducing the amount of seats for other parties winning representation. The final results announced on November 7 put Vetevendosje on 32 seats, the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, on 29 seats, the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK on 25 seats and the coalition between the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, and the Social Democratic Party, PSD on 14 seats.

NISMA-AKR-PD entering the parliament could potentially cost Vetevendosje three seats, creating a requirement for a broader coalition government to be formed. While the initial results allowed for a simple coalition between the two largest parties, Vetevendosje and LDK, a change in seats would require further parties to join the coalition.

PSD’s Natyra Kuci, who was expected to be her party’s only representative in the Assembly, has also stated that NISMA-AKR-PD winning representation would cost her a place in the parliament.

However, results may not be finalized in the near future — ECAP also announced on Monday that votes from more than half of the polling stations in the country must be recounted. ECAP’s decision to recount votes from 1,472 out of 2,547 polling stations came after dozens of complaints from several political subjects standing in the election.

Political analyst Blerim Vela has suggested that the certification of the final results might now be delayed for another month and that the new government will not be formed before December.

Prishtina Insight

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