BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ The power struggle between the Bosnian Serb president and indicted wartime leader Radovan Karadzic entered a new and critical phase today in voting for a new Serb Parliament.

International officials had hoped the two-day elections in the Serb-ruled half of Bosnia would help crystallize popular support for President Biljana Plavsic and weaken the grip hard-line Karadzic supporters have on parliament.

Yet the elections seemed more likely to deepen the already yawning divide among the Bosnian Serbs.

If no side gains a clear majority in the 83-seat Parliament, a long period of negotiations over building coalitions is likely _ leaving Bosnian Serb politics a muddle and international officials still groping for ways to cut Karadzic out of the political scene and boost Plavsic.

After voting in her northwest Bosnian stronghold of Banja Luka, Plavsic said she expected the election to end the lock on power that the pro-Karadzic Serb Democratic Party now has.

``I don't think that one party will get an absolute majority like the SDS has had up until now,'' she said. ``No single party will control the assembly.''

Representatives of the international organization overseeing the voting and the NATO-led peace force said there was no violence before and after the opening of polls early today.

``All the polling stations are open, the turnout already seems to be pretty good,'' said Luke Zahner, a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, charged with overseeing the elections. ``Everything is pretty calm and on track at the moment.''

Nearly 50 parties are running. Because of the large number of refugees who will vote abroad, no results will be announced until about Dec. 10.

Bosiljka Banjac, a 50-year resident of Banja Luka, said she voted for the Socialist Party, which she described as ``people who want to take us into Europe'' and want no more war in Bosnia.

Political analysts in Banja Luka said they expected four major parties to roughly split most of the vote, with Plavsic's party and the Socialists on one side, and the pro-Karadzic Democratic Party allied with the nationalist Radical Party on the other side.

If the vote does play out that way, the balance of power could be held by minor parties and Muslim refugees registered to vote on Serb territory.

In the northern Sarajevo suburb of Vogosca, scores of Muslim refugees from eastern Bosnia cast ballots. Dozens of people from eastern Bosnia gathered at the Sarajevo train station, waiting for buses to take them to polling stations in hometowns they were forced from by Serbs during the war.

``We can only hope that eventually some new Serb leaders will allow return of refugees,'' said Emira Halilovic, a 51-year-old Muslim refugee from the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica that was overrun by Serbs in 1995.

The split among Serbs has caused a parallel split among police, army and media, as Plavsic and her foes have tried to consolidate their support.

Plavsic has accused Karadzic and his allies of amassing fortunes in black market wealth.

Karadzic's camp has accused Plavsic of working with Western powers to weaken the republic and allow the capture of Karadzic, wanted for trial by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

Karadzic withdrew from public life last year under strong international pressure to sideline indicted war crimes suspects, but he continues to wield immense influence from behind the scenes.

Plavsic dissolved the parliament in July in an effort to dislodge Karadzic's backers, but they have continued to defy her.

The pro-Karadzic Serb Democratic Party, based in Pale, east of Sarajevo, won an absolute majority in 1996. However, it has been stripped of one of its main tools _ its radio and television station _ and looks likely to lose support. International officials shut down Pale TV because of what they charged was inflammatory reporting.