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Seles_Beckham
Dec 29th, 2003, 01:39 AM
Party Allied to Milosevic Wins Serb Vote


BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro - An extreme nationalist party allied to indicted war criminal Slobodan Milosevic won Serbia's parliamentary elections Sunday but failed to get the majority needed to govern, according to official preliminary results.

Milosevic and three other Balkan war crimes suspects were candidates but no immediate decision was likely on whether they would get seats.

The results of the Serbian Radical party were closely watched as crucial to the stability of the Serb republic and the entire Balkans, still recovering from four wars fomented by Milosevic and his loyalists in the 1990s.

With the party in first place, the strength of the Radicals — who advocate expanding Serbia's borders and once considered Saddam Hussein a key international ally — is likely to nudge Serbia into deeper social and economic chaos and potentially destabilize the region.

In second place was the moderate nationalist Democratic Party, followed by the governing pro-Western Democratic party, according to preliminary results from the State Electoral Commission. Official results were not expected before Monday.

The independent Center for Free Elections and Democracy, whose exit polls have been highly accurate in the past, said the results gave the Radicals 82 seats in Serbia's 250-seat parliament, or nearly a third.

The Democratic Party of Serbia won 53 and the Democratic Party 37, the center's exit polls show. Milosevic's Socialists came in sixth with 22 seats, not enough support to boost the Radicals into governing, according to the exit polls.

The moderate nationalists have ruled out a coalition with the Radicals. That would enable the pro-democratic parties that toppled Milosevic in 2000 and extradited him to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in 2001 to form a coalition government — if they put their bickering aside.

The Radicals' victory, however, means any Serbian government will not be as pro-Western and liberal as the one formed after Milosevic's ouster, because it will be forced to make concessions with the extremists.

Turnout was about 60 percent, the highest since parliamentary elections that defeated Milosevic's Socialists three years ago, when 70 percent voted.

The Radicals' strong showing reflected disillusionment over the nation's high unemployment, low salaries averaging about $300 a month, and deep-rooted corruption in the ranks of the outgoing government.

Extremists also profited from the sense that the outgoing government kowtowed to what many here see as a U.N. war crimes court that is biased against the Serbs.

The Radicals openly call for a "Greater Serbia" at the expense of the republic's Balkan neighbors and have pledged to cut diplomatic ties with Serbia's main wartime rival, Croatia. They also vow not to extradite the U.N. war crimes tribunal's most-wanted fugitives — former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his wartime military commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic.

Both Milosevic and ultranationalist ally Vojislav Seselj of the Serbian Radical Party were candidates, despite being held for trial by the U.N. war crimes detention unit in The Hague, Netherlands. Two other indicted war crimes suspects from other parties were also on the ballot.

A quick decision was not likely on whether any would get a seat. Each party fielded 250 names — one for each seat in parliament — but will not assign specific candidates to the legislature until it knows how many places it has won.

At a celebration for the Radicals, their interim leader, Tomislav Nikolic dedicated their victory "to Vojislav Seselj and other Serb inmates in The Hague," an allusion to Milosevic.

With the nationalists not winning enough to govern outright, the democratic groups — all part of the former anti-Milosevic bloc that toppled and extradited him to The Hague-based U.N. tribunal — could join in the government and sideline the Radicals.

Key to that cooperation is the Democratic Party of Serbia led by Vojislav Kostunica. who succeeded Milosevic as president of Yugoslavia, Serbia-Montenegro's predecessor.

Boris Tadic, a leader of the Democratic Party, called on reform forces to end their differences and form a "democratic bloc" against the Radicals

*JR*
Dec 29th, 2003, 01:59 AM
I'm sure Vuk Draskovic is busily devising a formula 2B "all things to all people" like when Slobo was in power. (No wonder the late, badly missed Zoran Djindjic couldn't stand the bearded opportunist).