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Bosnia: OSCE Chief Favors Postponing Local Bosnian Polls

Zurich, 4 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) empowered with organizing Bosnian elections says he is opposed to holding municipal polls in November as tentatively planned.

The OSCE official, Swiss Foreign Minister Flavio Cotti, made the remark on Swiss television last night.

His spokesman, Franz Egle, said today Cotti told the OSCE in Sarajevo two days ago he believes political and technical obstacles cannot be cleared in time to hold the elections this year. Local elections were originally supposed to be held along with general elections September 14, but the OSCE postponed them amid allegations of voter manipulation.

Cotti said he would support any decision by the OSCE's Provisional Election Commission, which has the final word on whether to hold Bosnian local polls on November 22-24 or delay them.

The chief of a team of independent election monitors in Bosnia, Ed van Thijn, said recently the local vote should be held next year to enable organizers to resolve the registration issue and to ensure greater security for refugees crossing ethnic boundary lines to vote.