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Bosnia: Both Sides Claim Victory In Serb Republic

Banja Luka, 24 November 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Both sides in this weekend's parliamentary elections in the Bosnian Serb Republic are claiming victory today, but western officials who organized the poll say the vote is too early to call.

The two-day vote for 89 parliamentary seats provided the first electoral test for rival Serb factions following a tense power struggle that erupted in the Serb half of Bosnia-Herzegovina last summer. Results will determine how much progress Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic has made in her drive against supporters of indicted war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic.

Final results are not expected until next month, however, since ballots must first be counted in Vienna by officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) before they are shipped back to Bosnia for a recount.