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News Briefs II

Right Wing Candidate Wins Salvador Election

THE WASHINGTON POST -- SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador

Francisco Flores, a 39-year-old former philosophy professor and the new standard bearer of El Salvador’s main right-wing party, Monday was declared the winner of Sunday’s presidential election.

Election officials reported that with just over 95 percent of the ballots counted, Flores, of the ruling Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), had received 52 percent of the vote; his main challenger, Facundo Guardado of the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), received 29 percent.

Flores’ victory was diminished somewhat by low voter turnout. Less than 40 percent of this small Central American nation’s 3.1 million registered voters went to the polls in the country’s second presidential election since 1992, when a peace accord ended a protracted civil war that killed an estimated 70,000 people.

The turnout reflected the view of many Salvadorans that the political establishment has been more concerned with consolidating power than with such issues as rampant crime and the country’s disintegrating health-care system. However, analysts contend that Flores, who has fashioned himself as a moderate, could revive confidence in El Salvador’s political system.


Bosnian Ruling May Stir Serbs Against Truce

THE WASHINGTON POST -- BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina

The angry response across the spectrum of Bosnian Serb politics to the decision to place the contested town of Brcko under international supervision indicates how close to the surface the currents of ethnic hostility still run in Bosnia, more than three years after the war ended.

When a lawyer appointed by Western nations on Friday rejected the demands of Bosnian Serbs for complete control of the municipality, he depicted the decision as a just punishment for Bosnian Serb hard-liners, whom he accused of obstructing the return of Muslim and Croat refugees and blocking the creation of democratic institutions in the town.

In a long session Sunday of the national assembly shown live on state television, speaker after speaker inveighed against an “unconstitutional,” “illegal” and “unjust” decision on Brcko by Roberts B. Owens, a Washington-based international attorney. The result was hardly a surprise: a vote by the assembly to suspend any compliance with the 1995 Dayton peace accord that mandated Bosnian Serb participation in a collective government with Croats and Muslims.