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key test for Kosovo as it prepares to go to the polls

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key test for Kosovo as it prepares to go to the polls

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One and a half million Kosovans go to the polls tomorrow in local council elections, the first since Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia last year.

However polls suggest turnout might be low as many people see Kosovo’s political parties as corrupt and inefficient. Agron Bajirami, Editor in Chief of Kosovo daily Koha Ditore said: “It is the first time that there are real expectations that the Serb community might participate in what international and local actors call a “meaningful way.” Kosovo’s six percent Serbian minority has boycotted all elections there for a decade, but it takes part in Serbian polls. Belgrade insists any candidates who do stand are merely serving as window-dressing for the Kosovans. The Serbs do not recognise Pristina’s authority or independence. “Democracy is not only elections. It is before and after, and many other things, and we are not happy with the democracy that is provided by the Kosovo Albanians at all. We still have so many people out of Kosovo without a real chance to return, and that’s the reason people are really suspicious of any offer coming from Pristina,” said Serbia State secretary for Kosovo and Metohija Oliver Ivanovic. The largest party is Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s Kosovo Democratic party, but as he wound up his campaign accusations were already starting to fly that fraud was going to taint the results. Some 74 different political entities will contest the election.