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Kosova Daily Report #1379, 98-03-22

Kosovo Information Center: Kosova Daily Report Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Kosova Information Center <http://www.kosova.com/>

Kosova Information Center
KOSOVA DAILY REPORT #1379
Prishtina, 22 March 1998

First Edition: 11:15 CET
Second Edition: 15:30 CET
Third Edition: 21:00 CET

Kosova Elections '98


CONTENTS

  • [01] Heavy Turnout Reported in Kosovar Election
  • [02] Dr. Ibrahim Rugova Votes at Velania Neighborhood in Prishtina
  • [03] Short Lived, Monstrous Serb Regime's Lie About 'Rigged' Kosovar Votes
  • [04] Heavy Turnout, Calls for Boycott Spurned by Kosovars
  • [05] Enormous Voter Turnout Reported all over Kosova
  • [06] Press Conference of the LDK Electoral Headquarters
  • [07] Over 200 Foreign Reporters Cover Kosova Election
  • [08] Serb Police Harasses KIC Cameraman and Photographer
  • [09] Serb Police Ill-treat Electoral Commission Member
  • [10] Danish MP Regrets She Could Not Come to Observe Kosova Election
  • [11] U.S. Congressional Mission Prevented from Coming to Kosova to Observe Election
  • [12] Serb Forces Fire on Llausha
  • [13] Member of Jashari Family Votes in Prishtina
  • [14] Serb Police Vehicles Drive to Skenderaj
  • [15] Evening press conference of the Republic Electoral Commission
  • [16] In the Presidential Vote, Absolute Support for Dr. Ibrahim Rugova
  • [17] Press Conference of LDK Elections Headquarters
  • [18] President Rugova Deplores Imprisonment of U.S. Activists by Serb Regime

  • Kosova Elections '98

    [01] Heavy Turnout Reported in Kosovar Election

    PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - Polling stations in all Kosova were opened today at 7 o'clock for the people of Kosova to cast their votes in the presidential and parliamentary elections of the Republic of Kosova.

    These are the second national elections in Kosova. A 130-seat Parliament and the President of the Republic will be elected.

    A dozen parties take part in the parliamentary election. The Democratic League of Kosova (LDK) is expected to win most of the votes this time, too.

    Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, the LDK leader and the incumbent Kosova President, runs for the Presidency unopposed.

    Heavy turn-out is reported in the early hours of voting.

    [02] Dr. Ibrahim Rugova Votes at Velania Neighborhood in Prishtina

    PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - At 10:30 hrs today, the incumbent President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova cast his vote in the Velania neighborhood in Prishtina, capital of Kosova, in the eighth electoral zone.

    Dr. Rugova came to the polling station to vote together with his wife, Fane Rugova. Around 1000 voters, who were queuing to cast their votes, welcomed Rugova chanting his name, "Rugova, Rugova", and "Rugova, Kosova", "Independence, Independence".

    Hundreds of journalists, including scores of TV crews, had gathered in the polling station. There were a number of foreign diplomats and observers, too.

    Dr. Ibrahim Rugova had this to say to reporters: "The election today marks an important moment for the people of Kosova, the legitimacy of the Kosova leadership, in the struggle for independence, freedom and democracy.

    We sympathise with and stand by the people of Drenica, who belong here with us here today.

    We are grateful to all observers who wished to come to Kosova to monitor the elections, but the Serb regime prevented them from entering Kosova. I herewith express my heartfelt thanks to U.S. Congressmen, who were denied entry visas to Kosova, but who are observing the Kosova elections from Shkup ('Skopje', FYROM).

    I congratulate the citizens of Kosova who are turning out in great numbers in these elections.

    I herewith thank all the journalists covering the elections and observes monitoring them", Dr. Ibrahim Rugova said.

    [03] Short Lived, Monstrous Serb Regime's Lie About 'Rigged' Kosovar Votes

    The world watches Serb-Albanian pidgin in which a Serb letter 'Dj' becomes part of Albanian spelling: Djakov& for Gjakov& PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - The Serbian regime daily Politika has a frontline story today entitled "100.000 ballot papers for the illegal election in Kosova seized, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova's name already encircled".

    As befits a police state's daily newspaper, Politika engages in Serbian security propaganda in a bid to discredit today's parliamentary and presidential elections in the Republic of Kosova.

    Some 100.000 ballot papers for the presidential run were indeed confiscated by the Serb police. This was confirmed by the Kosova Republic Electoral Commission.

    The Politika daily, just like its fellow Serb regime outlet, the notorious state-run television RTS, alleged the ballot papers had already been filled in, namely Dr. Ibrahim Rugova's name, as the unopposed runner for the Presidency, encircled beforehand.

    Here is where Serb regime/police's ill-fated fabrication comes to the fore.

    A Serb hand filled in ballot papers for the Presidency of the Republic of Kosova, at the order of the Serb regime/police naturally enough.

    The name of the town of 'Gjakov&' in Albanian was spelled in this Serb regime version with a Serbian letter ('Dj') instead of the Albanian 'Gj'!

    This blatant lie about the Kosova ballot papers having allegedly been already rigged, was imparted by Slobodan Milosevic's outlets Politika and RTS, together with the police that keeps Milosevic and his proteges in power. The Serb police hand had the ballot papers filled in, the RTS broadcast it to the world, the Serb national daily Politika carried it for domestic consumption.

    There is fun in all this, however. A Serb regime/police hand saw to it to ensure that the President of the Republic of Kosova gets Serb votes: at least one, or around 100.000, depending on the level of trust you put in the Serb machinery of lies!

    Below is this weird Serbo-Albanian pidgin of 'Djakov&', shown in today's frontline page of Politika. [See http://www.kosova.com/politika.jpg] The world has already seen TV pictures of it, shot by RTS. It could not distinguish between a Serb 'Dj' and an Albanian 'Gj', which is what Belgrade was counting on this time.

    [04] Heavy Turnout, Calls for Boycott Spurned by Kosovars

    PRISHTINA, March (KIC) - There was high sounding rhetoric in news reports yesterday about "seven parties" boycotting the Kosova election.

    The truth is one party, Adem Dema^i's Parliamentary Party of Kosova (PPK) and two tiny political groupings, the Social Democratic Party (PSDK) faction chaired by Luljeta Pula-Beqiri and the National Unity Party (UNIKOMB) said they pressed for election to be put off.

    The four remaining "parties" are but pressure groups, an association of intellectuals, former political prisoners, and the Albanian Liberal Party (PLSH) an essentially nonexistent party, a party by name an half a dozen members, who pressed for people to boycott the presidential and presidential vote in Kosova today. The University of Prishtina Student Union (UPS) leaders made common cause with the 'boycotting block', but the student unions of the faculties and colleges of the University in fact came up with public statements opposing the students leadership, in favor of elections. There was massive turnout among the student population.

    Members of the PPK have been reported voting, thus spurning their leaders' call.

    There was heavy turnout today. No boycott. Calls for boycott have apparently fallen on deaf ears.

    [05] Enormous Voter Turnout Reported all over Kosova

    PRISHTINA, 22 March (KIC) - Heavy voter turnout has been reported all over Kosova in the presidential and parliamentary elections.

    Polling stations in over 1300 locations in Kosova opened at 7 o'clock this morning. 1.011.129 registered voters are expected to elect in a direct vote the President of the Republic of Kosova and 100 members to the 130-seat Parliament. 30 seats will be allocated to ethnic groups and small parties winning at least 3 percent of those casting votes in Kosova.

    Kosova has a combined majority-proportional election system.

    Reports from Kosovr municipal centers speak of an enormous turnout of voters during the morning hours. In some of the polling stations, over 90 per cent of the voters cast their ballots by noon.

    De^an: All the 38 polling stations opened as scheduled at 7 in the morning. Sources in the area said voting was already completed by noon in several smaller places. Over 95 per cent of voters cast their ballots at villages of Prejlep, Dubrav&, Grama^el by noon.

    Voter turnout of around 60 per cent was reported at that time at Carrabreg i Ul&t, Baballoq, Lloqan, Prapaqan, Dubovik& Carrabreg i Ep&rm, Beleg, Isniq villages.

    Apart from Albanians, members of Romani and Slavic Muslim communities have been voting, the LDK Information Commission in De^an said.

    The Commission said students and many members of the Parliamentary Party of Kosova (PPK) have voted in this municipality. The PPK leadership called for boycot of elections.

    Prishtina: Long columns of voters were queuing in front of numerous poling stations since morning hours.

    The incumbent President of the Republic of Kosova voted at the Velania neighborhood in Prishtina at around 10:30.

    Sources in the Republican Election Commission said that around 50 percent of the electoral body cast ballots in Prishtina by 12:00 hrs.

    Increased Serb police presence has been noticed in the areas around station polls. Serb police patrols roamed around the Xhevdet Doda secondary school, where one of the polling stations is located.

    Vushtrri: Around 70 percent of the registered voters in this municipality cast ballots by noon today, LDK sources said.

    Ferizaj: Reports from Ferizaj ('Urosevac') speak of satisfactory voter turnout in this municipality. By 10.30, over 45 per vent of the voter cast their ballots.

    The voting is going on under a Serb police watchful eye.

    Police reportedly walked in five polling stations, but did not obstruct the election, nor harassed the people.

    Shtime: By 11:30, around 70 per cent of the voters turned out to vote in the small town and the surrounding villages.

    Lipjan: Over 75 per cent of registered voters have reportedly voted in this municipality ny noon.

    [06] Press Conference of the LDK Electoral Headquarters

    PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - Mr. Milazim Karsniqi, head of the LDK Electoral Headquarters, told reporters today that over 70 per cent of the registered voters have cast ballots in most of the Kosova municipalities by 14:00 hrs.

    In a press conference this afternoon, Milazim Krasniqi said most of people have decided to vote in the morning hours, fearing possible Serb police intervention in the afternoon and evening hours.

    Krasniqi told reporters the heaviest turnout until 2 p.m. was reported in Mitrovica, 85 per cent. In some of smaller places the voting was already completed by 2 o'clock he said, illustrating it with the case of Haxhaj village of Gjilan where all the 162 registered voters cast their ballots by noon. All the 162 of them voted for the LDK presidential candidate Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, while 161 voted for the LDK MP candidate.

    Krasniqi said that reports reaching his headquarters indicate that members of all political parties, students and trade-union organizations have been voting. He quoted some members of the Parliamentary Party of Kosova (PPK) as saying that they were angry with the party leadership, who called for boycot of elections.

    Members of Turkish, Slavic Muslim and Romani communities have been taking part in the elections, Milazim Krasniqi conclude.

    [07] Over 200 Foreign Reporters Cover Kosova Election

    PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - More than 200 media representatives from the world have been covering the democratic exercise of the people of Kosova, the national election, today.

    CNN, BBC, ARD, ZDF, France 2, RAI, TV crews from Austria, The Netherldnas, Sweden, Russia, Bulgaria, Greece, Japan, Spain, Araba countries, are among many others.

    Special correspondents of the major world news agencies and newspapers are in Kosova, too.

    Most of the media representatives were present in Velania, where incumbent President Ibrahim Rugova and his family cast votes.

    [08] Serb Police Harasses KIC Cameraman and Photographer

    PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - The Serbian police halted today morning in the street in Prishtina the team of the Kosova Information Center (KIC), provoking and harassing them with no reason whatsoever.

    Adnan Ruhani, photographer, and Fatmir Hadri, cameraman, were halted by the police while on their way to Velania neighborhood to cover the voting of Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, the presidential candidate in today's election.

    Ruhani and Hadri were together with over a dozen of foreign and domestic reporters and photographers when they were halted by the police. The other reporters were let go.

    The KIC people were held up and interrogated for about half an hour.

    [09] Serb Police Ill-treat Electoral Commission Member

    PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - Four Serb policemen intervened in a polling station number one in the second electoral unit in Mitrovica, and ill- treated Muhamet R. Sogojeva, member of the electoral commission.

    Mr. Sogojeva, 50, received body injuries.

    Serb police took away an Albanian national flag.

    [10] Danish MP Regrets She Could Not Come to Observe Kosova Election

    PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - Ms Hanne Severinsen, member of the Danish Parliament, member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and chairwoman of the Copenhagen-based Danish Kosova Committee, wrote to President Ibrahim Rugova of Kosova Saturday, regretting that she could not come to observe Kosovar elections.

    Following is the text of Ms Severinsen's letter: Dear President Rugova I would like to thank you for your kind invitation to take part as an observer to Kosova's election of Parliament and President march 22.

    I am sorry not to be able to participate this time. But I hope soon to come to Kosova and meet you and your supporters whose peaceful struggle for self- determination I have always admired.

    I always follow closely the events in Kosova, and I think you have managed to handle a very dangerous situation in a firm and peaceful way.

    Europe should be shocked by the terrible massacre that has taken place recently in Kosova, and should help to avoid further conflict.

    I hereby send you - Mr. President - my deepest condolences for the last victims who fell in Kosova. Let us hope that their sacrifice was not in vain and that the road will soon be free to self-determination for the people of Kosova.

    I hope that the people of Kosova will be able to freely elect their representatives so that they can continue their peaceful struggle for self- determination.

    I will do my utmost to support you and your cause from my position as liberal member of the Danish Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe".

    [11] U.S. Congressional Mission Prevented from Coming to Kosova to Observe Election

    PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - The Serbian authorities have refused to grant visas to a 14-member bi-partisan U.S. delegation, led by three U.S. Members of Congress, who intended to observe today's elections in Kosova.

    The U.S. delegation led by Representatives Sue Kelly (R-NY), Jim Moran (D- VA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) was diverted Thursday to Shkup ('Skopje'), FYROM, from its original destination of Belgrade.

    The delegation, sponsored by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), includes in addition to the Members of Congress, senior congressional staff, representatives of the National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Institute of Peace, and retired U.S. Ambassador to Albania William Ryerson.

    They were denied entry Kosova again Saturday.

    In a press release issued Saturday in Shkup/Skopje, Representatives Kelly, Moran and Engel said the Belgrade action was "a blatant attempt to subvert international efforts to investigate the recent reign of terror inflicted on the people of Kosova by the Milosevic regime" that already has resulted in the massacre of more than 80 Albanians.

    The delegation leaders said Belgrade was "afraid of what we would find" in Drenica and other villages attacked by Serb artillery, helicopter gunships, and overwhelming military and police forces during the past month.

    They said the latest actions by Milosevic should send a strong signal to the Contact Group as it meets next Wednesday that much stronger international condemnation and action were critical to stop the bloodshed and end the repression in Kosvoa.

    The Members of Congress called for the immediate deployment of an international conflict prevention force to Kosova.

    "The international community should be outraged by Belgrade's, continuing, barbaric behavior that runs contrary to the norms of civilized society", the delegation leaders said.

    Milosevic should be indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal for his role in directing the Kosova crackdown and the resulting crimes against humanity. "While his role in fomenting ethnic hatred in Croatia and Bosnia is well known, the recent massacres in Kosvoa prove beyond doubt his personal responsibility for these egregious war crimes", the Members of the Congress said.

    "We will not be deterred from showing the world the compelling need to prevent the Belgrade regime from engineering another massacre on the scale of Bosnia-Herzegovina", they said.

    The US delegation is observing the Kosovar elections from Shkup.

    [12] Serb Forces Fire on Llausha

    PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - Serb forces opened fire on Llausha today for a quarter of an hour (from 10:30 through 1O:45 hrs), an LDK source told KIC.

    The source did not say what kind of armament or caliber was fired from. It said Serb forces are not moving out, but rather reinforcing in the surrounding villages. Trenches are being dug up and woods cut, the LDK source said.

    Huge Serb forces have been keeping the Llausha village sealed off for three weeks now.

    Most of the residents have abandoned the village, for fear of imminent Serb forces' attack.

    At least six Albanian residents of the village have been killed by Serb snipers.

    [13] Member of Jashari Family Votes in Prishtina

    PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - Mr. Isa Jashari (24), native of Prekazi i Ul&t village of Skenderaj ('Srbica'), who has found shelter in Prishtina after abandoning his village, voted in the Kosova capital today.

    More than twenty members of the extended Jashari family, men, women and children, were killed by Serb forces in Prekaz earlier this month.

    The Republican Electoral Commission ruled that Mr, Jashari be allowed to vote. He voted in the polling station where Dr. Ibrahim Rugova had voted earlier, at Velania neighborhood in Prishtina.

    There were almost 1000 voters queuing to cast votes at the time.

    The Republican Election Commission ruled that voting in Drenica (Skenderaj, Gllogovc and Klina) be postponed for a later date.

    [14] Serb Police Vehicles Drive to Skenderaj

    PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - Several Serb police vehicles drove to Skenderaj ('Srbica') just before 9 o'clock in the morning today.

    LDK Information Commission in the town of Mitrovica said that an armored vehicle was among the four vehicles full of policemen heading for Skenderaj.

    [15] Evening press conference of the Republic Electoral Commission

    PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - There was a huge turnout in today's presidential and parliamentary election in the Republic of Kosova, the central electoral commission said today evening, at a press conference held at 19:30 hrs.

    The polling stations closed at 19:00 hrs, as planned, Tadej Rodiqi, the Commission's chairman said.

    The preliminary results on voter turnout that he gave are as follows: in Prishtina 80 percent, in Fush&-Kosov& ('Kosovo Polje') 80 percent, in Lipjan 80, in Ferizaj ('Urosevac') 90, in Kamenica 90, in Viti 90, in Prizren 80, in Peja ('Pec') 82, in Istog 90, in Sht&rpc& 60, in Gjakova 90, in Vushtrri ('Vucitern') 90, in Suhareka 65, in Malisheva 95, in Zubin Potok 97.42, in Shtime 80, in Mitrovic& 95, in De^an 97.5, in Ka^anik 70, in Gjilan 90, in Rahovec 90, in Podujeva 90, in Obiliq 80, in Novob&rd& 99.9, and in Dragash 85 percent.

    Results from the municipality of Leposaviq have not arrived yet.

    The average turnout for Kosova, based on these preliminary figures, is around 85.4 percent.

    Mr. Tadej Rodiqi said ten political parties, three associations and three independent candidates took part in today's elections.

    The non-participation of some parties, in the light of these figures, has not effected the overall turnout, according to the Electoral Commission's chairman, because a large number of members of these parties turned out to vote, too.

    Members of the Bosnjak, Turkish and Roma communities living in Kosova voted in large numbers today too, according to the Commission.

    The people of Kosova reconfirmed their independence bid, as well as wishes to live in freedom in their own countries, Mr. Rodiqi said.

    "Today's voter turnout is strong proof of this".

    [16] In the Presidential Vote, Absolute Support for Dr. Ibrahim Rugova

    PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - The electoral body in Kosova voted overwhelmingly to reelect Dr. Ibrahim Rugova to the Presidency of the Republic of Kosova.

    The Kosova Information Center (KIC) has learned that reports from municipal electoral commissions and LDK branches from Kosova confirm this.

    Rugova ran unopposed in these elections, so the overwhelming majority of those actually casting ballots have voted for him.

    The heavy turnout in the parliamentary and presidential elections in the Republic of Kosova reconfirm the support the independence bid has among the people, as well as the peaceful policies advocated by Dr. Ibrahim Rugova.

    [17] Press Conference of LDK Elections Headquarters

    Massive turnout; no irregularities reported until late afternoon hours, the LDK team says PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - At a press conference late in the afternoon today (Sunday), Milazim Krasniqi, head of the Election Headquarters of the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK), said that two hours before the polling stations were to close in Kosova, over 80 per cent of the registered voters had already cast their ballots.

    Milazim Krasniqi said the voters turnout was enormous and no irregularities were reported during the voting. He said he hoped there would not be any problems during the last two hours of the voting and the follow up procedures.

    Mr. Krasniqi presented the statistics the LDK Election Headquarters had obtained by 17:00 hrs. By 5 p.m., over 70 per cent of the registered voters cast ballots in Prishtina, around 80 per cent in Fush&-Kosova, over 80 per cent in Lipjan and Ferizaj, almost 90 per cent in Kamenica, Vitia and Prizren, 82 per cent in Peja, around 90 per cent in Istog and Gjakova, over 90 per cent in Vushtrri, 74 per cent in Suhareka, 95 per cent in Malisheva, 88 per cent in Zubin Potok, 90 per cent in Shtime, 95 per cent in Mitrovica, 80 per cent in De^an, 70 per cent in Ka^anik (according to statistic obtained at 11 hrs), 90 per cent in Gjilan, 80 per cent in Rahovec, 90 per cent in Podujeva, 80 per cent in Obiliq, 85 per cent in Dragash, and 97 per cent in ^ab&r.

    Milazim Krasniqi told the reporters that the Serb police intervened and obstructed elections in several places. At ^abra of Leposaviq, municipality in north of Kosova, the police prevented the people from voting at a polling station, so they moved to a new place. In Obiliq the Serb police intruded into three polling stations. In Prizren the police beat up a young Albanian who had refused to accompany the police to a polling station.

    He said that in Ajvalia village of Prishtina the police intruded into a polling station seizing ID's of three members of the electoral commission. They were summoned to report at the Serb police station.

    Antonio Delolio representative of Pax Christi told the reporters during the same press conference that he had visited several polling stations in Ferizaj and Gjilan municipalities during the course of today. He said he was impressed with the voters turnout.

    Mr. Delolio said the impressions of the Pax Christi team who observed the elections were very good. 'We did not notice any irregularities' he said. The Pax Christi representatives said they see the Kosovar elections as an excellent test of the determination of the people for democracy and order.

    [18] President Rugova Deplores Imprisonment of U.S. Activists by Serb Regime

    PRISHTINA, March 22 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, denounced today in the strongest terms the imprisonment by the Serb regime of six American humanitarian activists and reporters Saturday.

    Half a dozen human rights activists from the United States were detained by Serb police Saturday morning and summarily sentenced to ten days in jail each.

    The Serbian police arrested David Hartsough, Executive Director of a U.S. organization "Peace Workers", as well as activists Daniel Perez, Teresa Crawford, Bruce Warren, Albarto Cavalos and Peter Lipman a journalist.

    The six U.S. citizens were summarily sentenced to 10 days of imprisonment each at the Serb-run Magistrate Court in Prishtina Saturday afternoon.

    President Ibrahim Rugova called outrageous the move of the Serb occupation regime, putting U.S. peace and humanitarian activists to jail. All this aims at preventing all from seeing the situation in Kosova themselves.

    Dr. Ibrahim Rugova urged for an immediate and unconditional release of the peace activists from Serb prison.

    Kosova Information Center


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