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Bosnia: U.S. Supports Decision To Delay Bosnian Municipal Elections

Sarajevo, 27 August 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Bosnian municipal elections will be postponed until next year because of registration irregularities, the Provisional Elections Commission for Bosnia of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) decided today. The United States says it supports the decision.

By postponing the municipal elections, the OSCE has taken a decisive step to demonstrate that it will not tolerate irregularities, said State Department spokesman Glyn Davies.

Robert Frowick, OSCE chief in Bosnia, announced the decision at a press conference in Sarajevo. He said the municipal elections probably would be reset for April or May. General elections will be held as scheduled on September 14.

The postponement was invoked because of concerns that Bosnian Serb officials in some key towns had manipulated registration lists to strengthen Serb control in areas where Moslems or Croats had formerly been in the majority.

The Dayton peace accords call for general elections to be held in Bosnia by mid-September. But the agreement does not require that municipal elections be held at the same time.

The Bosnian Serbs' response to the OSCE's announcement was not immediately clear. But Bosnian Serb leaders have suggested they would boycott the poll if the municipal elections were postponed.