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Serb Presidential Election Heading to a Runoff Vote

September 30, 2002|From Associated Press

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia — Vojislav Kostunica on Sunday won the initial round of Serbia's first presidential election since Slobodan Milosevic's ouster and will face a pro-Western candidate in a runoff, according to unofficial results.

Kostunica, Yugoslavia's president, had 31% support, followed by pro-Western Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus with 28%, the results showed. Because neither appeared to get more than the 50% needed for an outright win, they will face each other in a runoff.

The unofficial results were released by the Center for Free Elections and Democracy, an independent watchdog group that had observers at all 8,615 polling stations and monitored the official count. The center's results have proved reliable in the past.

Official results were not expected before today.

Kostunica is losing his job as Yugoslavia's president next year under constitutional changes aimed at transforming the country into a loose union of its two republics, Serbia and Montenegro.

Kostunica, a moderate nationalist, is widely favored to win over Labus in the final round, to be held in two weeks.

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