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Pro-Karadzic party rejects election results

December 8, 1997

PALE, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ The main ally of war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic accused international monitors Monday of robbing his party of several parliament seats, and vowed not to accept the results of last month’s elections.

The results of the Nov. 22-23 elections, announced Sunday, indicate that the Serb Democratic Party _ founded and still led from behind the scenes by Karadzic _ had lost its majority in the Bosnian Serbs’ 83-seat assembly.

There was no clear winner; instead, the results ensure that the power struggle between Karadzic’s ally, Momcilo Krajisnik, and Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic will continue, worsening the split between the two halves of Bosnian Serb territory.

The dispute also soured the mood before an international conference to review the Bosnian peace process this week in Bonn, Germany.

Krajisnik, the Serb member of Bosnia’s three-man presidency, said he was shocked by the results.

``There has been an obvious theft,″ he said in an interview. ``The assembly cannot convene based on rigged election results.″

He said he would lodge a formal complaint.

Spokesman Mladen Bosic said the party was ``robbed of three to four seats″ by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, which organized the elections.

The pro-Karadzic Serb Democratic Party won 24 seats, and its potential ally, the Serb nationalist Radical Party, won 15. That still left them several short of a majority. The Serb Democratic Party had a majority by itself in the outgoing parliament.

Plavsic’s newly formed party won 15 seats. A coalition dominated by Muslims representing refugees expelled from homes in Bosnian Serb territory won 16 seats, and another minor party from the Muslim-Croat federation got two seats.

A party allied to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who has strained relations with both Karadzic and Plavsic, won nine seats. Another small Bosnian Serb party won two seats.

Seeking to back up his allegation that the OSCE rigged the vote, Krajisnik said parties from the Muslim-Croat half of the country had 18 deputies in the previous Bosnian Serb parliament, with 300,000 people voting.

This time, he said, there were only 120,000 voters from the federation, but once again they won 18 of the 83 seats.

OSCE spokesman John Verheyden denied the allegations, saying this time around ``you needed less votes to get a seat than the last time. This affects all parties.″

Krajisnik said at the Bonn conference, Bosnian Serbs would try to block efforts to extend and strengthen the Western mandate in Bosnia.

The OSCE has supervised all elections since the war ended in 1995, but under current agreements its activities are to end next year. OSCE is seeking to extend that mandate, since progress in forging a peaceful and united Bosnia is lagging.

Krajisnik said his delegation would not agree to any broadening of the powers of the top international official in Bosnia, Carlos Westendorp.

``If they try to impose solutions on us, solutions which are outside the Dayton agreement, there will be no Bosnia,″ Krajisnik said. ``Bosnia has no future if solutions are imposed.″

Krajisnik and Plavsic are both to attend the Bonn conference, but Krajisnik made clear he considers himself the Bosnian Serbs’ representative.

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