Albanians living in Serbia’s southern Presheva Valley appear to have secured a seat in parliament following repeat elections this week, according to local reports.
Official preliminary results from April 3 elections showed a devastating result for Albanians, who lost all three seats gained in previous elections after the leaders of Albania and Kosovo had pushed their local politicians in a grand coalition.
However, two weeks after elections, Serbia’s Election Commission declared repeat elections in 89 polling stations throughout the country, crucially including Presheva Valley, where Albanian candidate for MP Shaip Kamberi needed 610 more votes to secure his seat.
Preliminary results from Thursday’s repeat elections reported by Presheva news portal show that Kamberi got 677 votes, which if confirmed by the Serbian Elections Commission are enough to get him the parliamentary seat.
Kamberi appeared optimistic in a social media post thanking voters. He had previously accused the Serbian government’s policy to remove Albanians from the civil registry as the main factor for the loss. However, a lack of coalition between local Albanian parties appears to have had a more devastating effect than what researchers have called the “ethnic cleansing” of Albanians by the Serbian government.
Ahead of Thursday elections, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti urged Presheva Albanians to vote for Kamberi.