On the eve of the parliamentary elections to be held in Kosovo on 6 October, the votes of the diaspora are receiving more attention than ever from the political parties.
I'm more than 35.000 citizens of the Kosovar diaspora regularly registered for parliamentary votes on Sunday. For this category of voters, voting started on September 19 and will end on October 5.
According to a report by the Kosovo Statistics Agency, it is estimated that there are about 800.000 Kosovar citizens scattered around the world even though those officially registered in the country's diaspora registers - a process started by the Kosovo authorities years ago - are about 400.000.
The number of voters from the diaspora this year is more than double compared to the 2017 parliamentary elections: in June two years ago, in fact, only 15.118 citizens of the diaspora (about 6% of the total) were regularly registered for voting. However, the number is still low.
The Kosovar diaspora and the elections
Shpend Emini, executive director of the organization "Democracy for Development", told Radio Free Europe that there are some obstacles to the turnout of the Kosovar diaspora in the elections, linked to the lack of official documentation and to the scarce representation of the interests of the diaspora in the institutions of Kosovo.
"The interests of the diaspora are not well represented, which is why there is a low turnout of the Kosovo diaspora in the elections.”- highlights Emini.
For years now, politicians have been a Prishtina they promise to the diaspora a worthy representation in the institutions, including seats in the Kosovar parliament. But these promises have never been kept until now.
"There have been discussions about changing the representation of the diaspora in the context of electoral reform, but it has all remained on paper. Even the promises made by politicians have never become concrete actions. ”- continues Emini for Radio Free Europe.
Liza Gashi, executive director of the non-governmental organization "Germin" (which deals with the diaspora), said for RFE that the diaspora vote is important for the elections in Kosovo and that, in his opinion, the number of voters would be very higher if a good voting system was created for the diaspora.
"In these parliamentary elections, the vote of the diaspora makes the difference for this curiosity has increased to learn more about this social group of Kosovo. If the latter had a better electoral system, there would have been the possibility of major changes to the country by the votes of the diaspora, given its large number. "- said Liza Gashi.
The representation of the diaspora in the institutions of the country has been and is considered necessary, given its contribution to the economic development of the country. Kosovo, in fact, is one of the countries with the highest level of remittances. Last year alone, the value of remittances exceeded the amount of 800 million, marking the highest value of the last decade.