12 Dec 2010

Kosovo holds historic election

8:57 pm on 12 December 2010

Kosovars have begun voting in their first parliamentary elections as citizens of an independent country.

Surveys predict a close race between the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and its former coalition ally the right-wing Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).

Both campaigned on promises to launch an economic recovery, bring down unemployment from 48% and fight corruption.

However, ethnic Serbs in the divided town of Mitrovica are boycotting the elections, showing lingering tensions from Kosovo's breakaway from Serbia.

Nine Serb parties were running for parliament.

A free and fair vote is a condition for membership in the EU.