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Serbia: Kostunica Blames Djindjic For Election Failure

Belgrade, 14 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica today blamed his main political rival, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic (pictured), for the invalidation of Serbia's presidential election. Kostunica was well ahead with 66 percent of the vote, but Serbian election officials say yesterday's poll is invalid because less than the mandatory 50 percent of the country's eligible voters participated.

Kostunica accused Djindjic of encouraging the low turnout by leading a "quiet boycott" of the poll. Kostunica vowed to bring down Djindjic's pro-Western government by calling for early parliamentary elections.

But Djindic told Reuters the poll was more of a confidence vote in the government than a presidential election, and the low turnout meant voters are satisfied with the prime minister's policies.

Kostunica and Djindjic have been at odds since June 2001, when Djindjic handed over former Yugoslav Yresident Slobodan Milosevic to the UN war crimes tribunal to face war crimes charges in connection with the violent breakup of Yugoslavia. Kostunica opposed the handover.

Kostunica also agreed with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which today said that Serbia's election laws must be changed before a new presidential poll can be held.