BIRN and Internews Kosova monitors closely monitored political entities during the campaigning period for the upcoming local elections on October 22. So far, BIRN and Internews Kosova have collected evidence regarding 56 potential cases of attempted violations of Kosovo’s election campaign rules; so far, 27 have been approved by the Election Complaint and Appeal Panel (ECAP).
ECAP has fined political entities running in the local elections a total of 66,900 euros based on the written complaints of BIRN and Internews Kosova.
The fines include the following:
- The Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) was fined 18,850 euros regarding eight approved complaints
- The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) was fined 14,850 euros regarding six approved complaints.
- Alternativa was fined 11,300 euros regarding four approved complaints.
- The Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) was fined 8,500 euros based on three approved complaints.
- The New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) was fined 8,100 euros regarding three approved complaints.
- Vetëvendosje was fined 3,500 euros regarding two approved complaints.
- NISMA was fined 1,800 euros regarding one approved complaint.
The vast majority of these violations were for the involvement of minors under age 18 in campaign activities; violations of this nature resulted in a total of 18 approved complaints and 47,850 euros in fines. It is worth mentioning that this is the first time that ECAP has punished political entities for using children for their political campaigns, based on complaints submitted by BIRN and Internews Kosova.
Due to the involvement of persons under the age of 18, LDK has fines worth 17,350 euros. Podujeva’s mayoral candidate from LDK, Agim Veliu, was fined twice for the same violation worth 6,200 euros. Due to this violation, ECAP punished four other LDK candidates for mayoral positions. Among them, Muharrem Svarqa was fined 3,100 euros, Lutfi Haziri was fined 3,050 euros, and Bajrush Ymeri was fined 3,000 euros.
In four cases regarding the involvement of children in electoral campaigns, PDK was also fined 11,000 euros. As a result of posting a video on Facebook in which children were present, Kadri Veseli from PDK was fined 3,000 euros. Lirak Çelaj, PDK’s mayoral candidate for Prishtina, was fined 3,500 euros for publishing a video that included children. PDK’s branch in Ferizaj was also fined 2,500 euros for publishing pictures of children wearing symbols representing PDK.
AAK was fined twice for the involvement of children in their electoral campaign with the amount of 6,500 euros. A promotional AAK video that included the presence of minors, which was shared on social networks, cost this political party a fine worth 3,000 euros. A promotional video for NISMA’s mayoral candidate for Prizren, Zafir Berisha, also included minors and resulted in a 1,800 euro fine.
BIRN and Internews Kosova will continue to monitor the final day of the campaign, the day of election silence, as well as the electoral process, including the submission of complaints for potential violations on election day.