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Bosnia: Three Million Prepare To Vote

Sarajevo, 13 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Campaigning for Bosnia's first post-war national elections has come to an end. A 24-hour moratorium on campaigning now takes place, before an estimated three million Bosnian Serb, Croat and Muslim voters make their way to the polls tomorrow.

About 4,000 polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. local time. NATO-led peace implementation forces (IFOR) are in charge of providing overall security for the polls, which are being organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Yesterday, the OSCE's top official in Bosnia, American Ambassador Robert Frowick, told our correspondent that he is confident the best possible conditions have been established for the vote. Frowick has described the effort "as the most complicated election this century."

The elections' arithmetic is stunning. Nearly 3,500 candidates and more than 40 political parties are vying for votes. Candidates will be elected to cantonal (regional) offices on the Federation side, and as president of the Bosnian Serb Republic on the Republic side; to Republic and Federation parliaments; to a national parliament and to a three-member national presidency.

The OSCE says first results could be available by September 16 or 17. Final results are not expected until at least ten days later.

Analysts say that nationalist parties are expected to win easily.