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Yugoslavia: Officials Expect Milosevic To Steal Election

Belgrade, 22 September 2000 (RFE/RL) - Western officials and Serbian opposition candidates say they expect President Slobodan Milosevic to try to steal Sunday's elections in Yugoslavia. NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson said today he expected the federal elections, which include a presidential, parliamentary and local Yugoslav vote, to be marred by fraud. But he warned Belgrade that NATO is ready to deal with any possible "spillover" from the elections into Montenegro, Kosovo, or Bosnia. The Serbian Orthodox Church appealed to all sides to accept the election results, warning of possible bloodshed "if anyone tries to tamper with the people's will."

That call was echoed by several opposition politicians, while in neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik said in a strongly-worded open letter it was time for Milosevic to step down.

The European Union announced today it will not send parliamentary observers to witness the vote, after they were denied travel visas.

According to opinion polls, leading opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica is favored to win the presidency.