Masked men storming polling stations during Kosovo’s local elections, on November 3rd, was the image that captured the interest of the international media. But as Petrit Selimi, the country’s deputy foreign minister, says, events in three polling stations “don’t make an election, they make good visuals for TV.” The polling stations, in the divided city of Mitrovica, were important, but Mr Selimi has a point. Overall, Kosovo’s poll was remarkable for being so smooth and uneventful. Kosovo’s general election, in 2010, was tainted by accusations of “industrial-scale” fraud. This time no one has made any significant complaints. The turnout was also far higher than for local elections in most of the rest of Europe.
Kosovo’s election was really two polls in one. The first was between parties representing the majority Albanian population. Here, the opposition Democratic League of Kosovo did better than expected. The Democratic Party of Hashim Thaci, the prime minister, lost votes but did not do badly for a ruling party in mid-term.
Kosovo’s second election was for the hearts and minds of its minority Serbs. After months of discussions, Mr Thaci and Ivica Dacic, the Serbian prime minister, signed a historic deal in April to, in effect, normalise relations. Serbia would not recognise Kosovo as a state but would respect its jurisdiction over the whole territory, including the Serbian-dominated north. There, local Serbs, who number perhaps 40,000, are bitterly opposed to the deal by which Serbia’s state institutions are being wound down.
Full Article: Kosovo’s election: Only a minor disturbance | The Economist.