- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 8, 2019

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) - Kosovo’s general election was “well-administered and transparent,” European Union observers said Tuesday, although they criticized intimidation of ethnic Serbs by the main party representing the country’s Serb minority.

The left-wing Movement for Self-Determination, or Vetevendosje, won Sunday’s election, overcoming the former independence fighters who governed post-war Kosovo.

But the party did not garner enough votes to rule on its own and has asked the ex-opposition Democratic League of Kosovo to form a coalition.

Albin Kurti, Vetevendosje’s nominee for prime minister, needs to resolve how to resume talks with Serbia after his predecessor’s 100% tariff on Serb goods stalled the EU-facilitated talks.

Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia is not recognized by Belgrade, leading to continuing friction between the two countries.

A team of 108 EU observers monitored the election countrywide and said in a preliminary report Tuesday that the voting as “orderly.”

“These early elections were well-administered and transparent,” said team head Viola von Cramon-Taubadel.

They added, however that “the electoral process for Kosovo Serbs fell short of … international standards” due to intimidation of smaller ethnic Serb parties by the main Srpska List party, supported by Serbia’s government.

The Belgrade-backed Serb List party won the 10 seats guaranteed to Serbs in the 120-seat Parliament. Ten others are reserved for other minorities.

Observers also warned of the lack of financial transparency among political parties, and urged the next Parliament to urgently address completion of legislation governing the conduct of elections.

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