PRISTINA -- Candidates from the main Kosovo Serb party took more than 90 percent of the vote in snap mayoral elections that were held in four predominantly ethnic Serb municipalities in northern Kosovo, according preliminary official results and independent monitors.
Electoral authorities said that nearly 25,000 people had cast ballots in the May 19 elections, taking the turnout to 42.4 percent.
The polls were called after the four mayors of North Mitrovica, Zvecan, Leposavic, and Zubin Potok resigned in November 2018, days after the government in Pristina imposed a 100 percent tax on Serbian and Bosnian products.
Serbia's former province of Kosovo declared independence in 2008, and is recognized as a sovereign state by well over 100 countries but not by Belgrade.
Kosovo's Central Election Commission said that Serbian List head Goran Rakic swept to victory in North Mitrovica with 90.1 percent of the vote, Srdjan Vulovic in Zubin Potok with 94.5 percent, Zoran Todic in Leposavic with 96.6 percent, and Vucina Jankovic in Zvecan with 94.7 percent.
Democracy in Action (DnV), a coalition of nongovernmental organizations that monitored the election process, also reported that the Serbian List candidates had garnered more than 90 percent of the vote in each of the four municipalities.
The Serbian List was the only party representing ethnic Serbs that contested the snap elections.
Two ethnic Albanian parties, the Democratic Party of Kosovo and Self-Determination (Vetevendosje), also ran candidates.
Kosovo's authorities said that the election process ran smoothly and without any problems, but DnV observers reported some irregularities during election day.
"Family voting [more than one person in the voting booth] was noticed in 23 polling stations, complaints about voting lists in six cases, voting outside the booth was noticed in five cases, and an attempt to vote more than once was noticed in two cases," DnV said in a statement.
Kosovo's government said the tax that triggered the resignations of the four mayors was in retaliation for what it said were Belgrade's attempts to undermine its statehood, such as spearheading a campaign to scupper Pristina's bid to join Interpol and blocking it from UN membership.
The move drew angry reactions from Belgrade and Sarajevo and calls from the European Union and the United States to revoke the measure.