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Serbia: Socialists Appeal Election Ruling

Belgrade, 20 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - A Serbian court today confirmed that the government and an allied radical party have appealed against an electoral commission ruling that awarded victory to the opposition in Belgrade local elections two months ago. The Belgrade municipal court announced that the commission ruling is suspended pending a ruling by the Serbian Supreme Court on which court should decide on the matter.

It said two appeals were submitted -- one by President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialists (SPS) and the other by the rightist Serbian Radical Party (SRS), which is not in the government but opposes Serbia's moderate opposition coalition.

The appeal in Belgrade was lodged in the ninth week of pro-democracy demonstrations against the government's annulment of Serbia-wide municipal voting won by the opposition bloc Zajedno.

The electoral commission in Nis, Serbia's second largest city, declared an opposition victory there as well last week. An SPS appeal was thrown out by Nis municipal court and Zajedno said it would convene the new regional assembly next Monday.

Meanwhile, thousands of students demanding full restoration of opposition election victories continued a standoff with police in Belgrade today. Instead of dispersing yesterday after their regular protest rally, students spent all night on the streets and vowed to stay there until allowed to march through the city.