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The people of Kosovo voted in their first local elections since the country's independence in 2008. Forty-five percent of Kosovo's eligible voters cast ballots, the highest turnout since 2002.
The government of Serbia had called on Kosovo Serbs to boycott the elections. But Kosovo's electoral officials estimated the turnout of minority Serbs in central Kosovo to be stronger than expected. U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Christopher Dell commended the Serbs' decision to participate. "You rightly recognized," he said, "that the elections provided you with a unique opportunity to shape your future and the future of your communities. The United States looks forward to continuing to work with you to fulfill the promise inherent in these elections."
Kosovo's political parties and politicians, said Ambassador Dell, ran spirited and generally incident-free campaigns based on issues such as schools, the economy, and municipal services that truly matter to their constituents. "The winners," he said, "have an obligation to govern transparently and to make decisions that advance their constituents' aspirations to live in a democratic, multi-ethnic, and prosperous Kosovo."
The United States commends the government of Kosovo on successfully holding elections. They represent a significant milestone for Kosovo in building a multi-ethnic, democratic society for all of its citizens.