Mr. Thaci, a former Kosovar rebel and prime minister until snap elections were called weeks back, based his win on independent exit polls Sunday night. He described the 31 percent total for his Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) a victory for “democratic and Euro-Atlantic values.” Kosovar Albanians are avidly pro-European and pro-American following the NATO intervention of 1999 that effectively separated the territory from Serbia.
But polling problems have cropped up. The US Embassy said today that Ambassador Christopher Dell complained to authorities after ballots in a vote box at Hamez Jashari high school in Skenderaj, a Thaci stronghold that Mr. Dell was observing, "exceeded the number of signatures in the voters' books."
Voting turnout in some PDK strongholds topped 94 percent – though records show turnout had been only 51 percent as late as 4 p.m. This “defies logic,” according to the Foreign Policy Club in Pristina, the capital. Kosovo’s Central Election Commission reported a 48 percent overall turnout.
“Some stations had a 95 percent turnout, which can’t be explained,” says Agron Bajrami, editor in chief of the daily Koha Ditore in Pristina. “Most likely Thaci will be returned, but he may have to wait.”
The main opposition Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) on Monday used its own exit polls to claim a victory – creating gridlock. The LDK, former coalition partner of Thaci founded by Kosovo father-figure Ibrahim Rugova, won 25 percent in independent exit polls.