March 3, 2020

Analysis Report: Out-of-Country Voting – Kosovo Parliamentary Elections 2019

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Citizens of the Republic of Kosovo living abroad are entitled to elect and be elected the same way as citizens living in Kosovo. Through its legislation, the Republic of Kosovo enables the exercising of electoral rights to all citizens regardless of where they live. Voting rights are a part of fundamental rights, and are guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo and the Laws in effect. In Kosovo, voting from abroad is allowed for all types of elections. Non-residential citizens can vote in Local or Central Elections via mail once they have successfully registered with the Central Elections Commission (CEC). However, despite the large number of citizens living abroad, their turnout in Kosovo Elections remains low. Since the first elections after the declaration of independence, out-of-country voting has not been treated with priority and issues reported during election cycles have not been addressed adequately. This has created difficulties for the participation of the electoral potential abroad in the democratic processes in the place of origin, and this has affected as well in the trust in the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo.

A large number of observers and monitors agree that electoral processes in Kosovo have generally had a steady increase in quality over the years. However, this has not been the case for out-of-country voting. Problems in the application process to qualify as an out-of-country voter, slow communication and poor information, as well as issues with sending and receiving ballots in envelopes have been a part of almost every election cycle and they are still ongoing. Despite the fact that the CEC has made some changes since the 2017 elections – providing the option of applying through the official email – voting from abroad, just like in the parliamentary elections of 2019, remains challenging.

The aim of this analysis is to address the obstacles in the process of out-of-country voting, with the intention of increasing diaspora turnout in Kosovo Elections. This analysis presents data for out-of-country voting in the last elections of 2019 for the Kosovo Parliament. It addresses: the importance of the right to vote, voting procedures and turnout of citizens living abroad, voting results and obstacles during the process. The final part of the document contains concrete recommendations to different relevant institution regarding changes that need to be made in order to overcome obstacles and to widen the possibilities for out-of-country voting.

You can read/download the Analysis by clicking on the links below. It is available in: Albanian, English or Serbian language.

*Publication of this analysis was supported by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)