Pristina, 6 March 2014 – After having qualified the 2013 Kosovo Municipal Elections as representing a significant step forward in consolidating democracy in its preliminary statements, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) made public today its detailed findings and recommendations in order to help enhance the electoral process in future.
“Despite challenging circumstances, the first elections held throughout Kosovo, including in the north, took place in a positive atmosphere. It was encouraging to see that people expressed their democratic right to vote everywhere. However, we also observed several issues that need to be addressed in future,” said Chief Observer Roberto Gualtieri while presenting the Mission’s Final Report in a press conference in Pristina.
“Some of our recommendations could already be implemented on the occasion of the next general elections, others will require more time to be effective. It is crucial to confirm the positive trend observed last year and ensure that next elections continue to further Kosovo’s democratic development.”
The EU EOM’s Final Report offers a comprehensive analysis of all aspects of the electoral process, namely the legal framework, the work of the electoral administration, voter registration, out-of-Kosovo voting, the campaign, the media environment, polling and counting, and electoral disputes.
Based on its observations, the EU EOM lists, among others, the following recommendations that are based on the existing regional standards set by the OSCE and the Council Europe: Amend the Law on General Elections (LGE)- and consequently the Law on Local Elections (LLE)- in order to incorporate key aspects of the election process which are currently left to the Central Election Commission (CEC)’s regulations; Update and clean the civil registry to improve the accuracy of voters lists; Clarify the criteria in the LGE regarding eligibility to vote; Review the CEC Regulation on out-of-Kosovo voting; Allocate more responsibilities to Municipal Election Commissions (MECs) particularly regarding the appointment of Polling Station Commissions (PSCs); Improve the voter education component of the process by better explaining how to mark ballots in a correct manner; Conduct the tabulation of results in local elections at the municipality level with the publication of results in full details by polling station; Increase the period to file a complaint to 48 hours and the period for the Elections Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) to adjudicate to four days.