Successful holding of local elections throughout Kosovo on December 1st constitutes a milestone for the normalization process between Belgrade and Pristina and the enhancement of democratic institutions in Kosovo, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Monday. After a violence-marred first round on November 3, Kosovo voted Sunday in the second round of the local elections which are part of a historic EU-brokered deal between Serbia and Kosovo aimed at normalizing their ties after Kosovo declared independence in 2008. Voters cast their ballots in 25 out of 39 municipalities where no candidate managed to achieve a 50 percent threshold for outright victory in the first vote. The ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo lost support to the opposition Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK). But, the LDK lost the capital, Pristina, its long-time stronghold, to Harvard graduate Shpend Ahmeti from the Albanian Self-Determination movement. Although a reluctant participant in the election, Krstimir Pantic -- a Serb hardliner -- claimed victory on Sunday as the first mayor of the northern part of the ethnically split city of Kosovska Mitrovica with a solid lead over moderate Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic. Mr. Pantic was assuring Kosovo’s Serbs that voting in the election was not an endorsement of Kosovo's independence. Commenting on the December's round Mr. Ban underlined "the importance of the continued progress in the dialogue for the consolidation of peace and stability in the region."