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Votes Being Counted In Serb-Dominated Kosovo Town

An electoral staff member waits for voters at a polling station in the ethnically divided city of Mitrovica on November 17.
PRISTINA -- Votes are being counted in a Serb-dominated part of Kosovo after a previous vote there was annulled due to violence.

Voters went to the polls on November 17 to elect a local mayor and councilors at three polling stations in northern Mitrovica where masked Serbian ultranationalists destroyed ballot boxes and intimidated voters during the previous election on November 3.

There were no incidents during the rerun of the vote. Kosovo authorities said voter turnout was over 22 percent.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on November 18 the peaceful election was "an important part of the moving forward of Kosovo and Serbia" on the path toward European integration.

Preliminary results are expected late on November 19.

Authorities ramped up security ahead of the elections to deter attempts to harass voters or invalidate ballots.

Increased numbers of Kosovar police and security officers from the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), along with NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo (KFOR), were deployed at the polling stations.

Mitrovica is split into an ethnic Albanian south and a Serb north and has often been a flashpoint of ethnic clashes.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and RFE/RL's Balkan Service
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