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Kosovo election results delayed by irregularities

Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci, claimed victory – as did the main opposition party. Incidents of ballot stuffing were noted, but the vote overall was relatively peaceful in the two-year-old state.

Supporters of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) celebrate the party's victory in Pristina, Kosovo, on Dec. 12. Incumbent Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, seen in photo on poster, claimed victory Sunday in Kosovo's first general election since the province declared independence from Serbia. But voting irregularities are expected to delay a final outcome.

Visar Kryeziu/AP

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Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci, claimed victory in the first self-held parliamentary elections in the two-year-old state, which still seeks United Nations membership. But voting irregularities – including ballot stuffing witnessed by the US ambassador – are expected to delay a final outcome.

Sunday’s elections were relatively uneventful by Balkan standards. For a tiny landlocked state trying to escape legal and diplomatic limbo, boring may be good if it establishes political legitimacy, analysts say. Kosovo faces crucial talks with Serbia early next year after a decade of official silence from Belgrade, which does not recognize Kosovo.

Serbs in south Kosovo participated in elections for the first time in what may be a sign of further normalization of a new state historically riven by ethnic divides. Yet Serbs in the northern area of Mitrovica, a disputed town that is a seed-bed of Serb paramilitary, continued to opt out.

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