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With Karadzic's Departure Bosnian Serb Party Can Run in Poll

Sarajevo, July 19 (RFE/RL) -- The international organizers of the September elections in Bosnia say the main Bosnian Serb party will be allowed to run after all in the poll, now that Bosnian Serb leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic has resigned from all political and public posts effective today.

Ambassador Robert Frowick of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which the Dayton accords empowered to organize the elections, welcomed the resignation.

Frowick told a news conference in Sarajevo Karadzic's written pledge not to engage in any public activities means the party he had led until now, the Serbian Democratic Party, will be certified to run in the election campaign, which begins today.

But Frowick told reporters any backsliding by Karadzic could still jeopardize the party's certification for the September 14 vote. In his words, today the peace process in Bosnia has taken a potentially major step forward -- Dr. Karadzic had to resign for the sake of his own people.

Karadzic in Pale signed a statement last night relinquishing both the Bosnian Serb presidency and the leadership of the Serbian Democratic Party and all related powers and all other public activites. U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke, following ten hours of talks in Belgrade with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Bosnian Serb representatives, announced Karadzic's decision to resign.

Karadzic is being replaced as head of the party by Bosnian Serb Foreign Minister Aleksa Buha. Vice President Biljana Plavsic, to whom Karadzic had earlier ceded certain executive powers, becomes President of the Bosnian Serb Republic.