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Serbia: Presidential Election Fails To Attract Minimum

Belgrade, 14 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Serbia will have to hold new presidential elections after yesterday's runoff failed to attract the minimum turnout. Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica (pictured) was well ahead with 66 percent of the vote. Serbian election officials say the election will be declared invalid due to insufficient turnout of less than 50 percent of the country's 6.5 million eligible voters.

Serbian laws say a new election must be organized if turnout is below the required minimum. It is not clear when the next elections will be held.

Preliminary official figures and independent estimates indicated only around 45 percent of voters cast their ballots yesterday.

Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus finished far behind Kostunica with 31 percent of the vote.

The result appeared to be a victory for hard-line nationalist Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj, who had called on his supporters to boycott the run-off after he was eliminated in the first round.