PRISTINA, Kosovo — The Latest on Kosovo’s general election (all times local):
Kosovo’s election authorities say that preliminary figures put turnout in the country’s general election at 41.79 percent.
Central Election Commission head Valdete Daka says that “there have been no problems that would gravely damage the process.”
The turnout is smaller than in the previous polls, for example in 2014, when it was 42.63 percent. But it’s still a preliminary figure that may increase when final tallies are made.
Voting started at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) and ended at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT).
An exit poll for Klan Kosovo TV station has put the coalition of former ethnic Albanian rebel commanders first with 40 percent of the vote, the nationalists of the Movement for Self-determination came in second with 30 percent while the coalition led by former prime minister Isa Mustafa is third with 27 percent of the vote.
The poll asked 2,500 voters outside polling stations and its organizer said its margin of error was 1.5 percent.
Blerand Stavileci, spokesman of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, one of the coalition partners, invited supporters to a winning rally at the Skanderbeg Square in the capital, Pristina.
Kosovo citizens have started to cast their ballots in an early general election for the new 120-seat parliament.
At stake are thorny issues of the border demarcation deal with Montenegro that brought down the previous government, the approval of another deal with Serbia giving more rights to the ethnic Serb minority and the continuation of fraught talks with Belgrade, which denies Kosovo’s existence as a state.
Among the contenders are a coalition of three major parties run by former rebel commanders, another one led by Prime Minister Isa Mustafa’s party and the Self-Determination Movement, the biggest opposition party to shun pre-election coalitions.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. It is recognized by 114 countries, including the United States and most of the EU members.