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Europe

Results Bring No Surprises

Rugova will lead Kosovo, but misses a majority rule.

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Will Rugova stick to international demands?

Ibrahim Rugova's Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) is the big winner in last Saturday's Assembly elections, according to official preliminary results.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) announced late Monday that the LDK won 46.29 percent of the vote. The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) led by Hashim Thaqi lagged behind with 25.54 percent. The newly-formed Kosovo Serb political entity, Coalition Return, came in with the third highest result of 10.96 percent.

The results leave Rugova lacking the margin to rule alone. He now faces creating a coalition.

Call for Cooperation

"This was an extraordinary election," said Ambassador Daan Everts, head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo. "It has been highly commended by the international observers. Let's hope that the next stage, the implementation of the results, is also an example for the world."

Everts called on political parties, their leaders and their supporters to respect the result and to "move forward" to take Kosovo into the future. "The electorate has vested great trust in your hands, an Assembly for self-government, and it is important that you use it wisely," he said.

The US also welcomed the results, but indirectly warned Rugova regarding his ambitions to make Kosovo an independent state.

"We urge Kosovo's new leaders to continue working closely with the international community, and to avoid any action that may threaten that relationship, particularly with respect to Kosovo's final status," said Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman at the State Department.

Reeker added that Kosovo's new leaders will need to form coalitions that give smaller groups and parties a stake in governing. "Assembly members representing Kosovo's many ethnic communities must work together to resolve common issues and seek agreement and compromise in place of conflict," he said.

Still Counting

Counting continues at the OSCE Mission in Kosovo's Count and Result Center outside Pristina on Tuesday. The final result will be presented to the Central Election Commission and then be certified by the Head of the UN Mission in Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup. It is expected on November 24.

The Provisional Assembly has to meet within a month of the certification of the final results.

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