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Runoff Planned in Yugoslavia

September 26, 2000

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ The State Election Commission announced Tuesday that opposition presidential candidate Vojislav Kostunica finished first in the weekend presidential elections but without enough votes to avoid a runoff with President Slobodan Milosevic, state television said.

The commission said Kostunica won 48.22 percent of the vote in Sunday’s ballot to 40.23 for Milosevic.

``In short, in the presidential elections there will be a second round,″ TV said.

The announcement could escalate the Yugoslav political crisis. The opposition claims Kostunica won outright and has refused to join the runoff, scheduled for Oct. 8.

The statement broke the commission’s silence since the Sunday ballot. Opposition leaders expressed concern that the silence was to give the government time to manpulate the results and give Milosevic either victory or put him into a runoff.

Earlier Tuesday, the United States pledged to lead an international campaign to pressure Milosevic into accepting the outcome.

Washington joined European powers in calling for Milosevic to accept an apparent opposition victory and step down from the power he has wielded for 13 years.

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