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Early Results of Bosnia Vote
Reinforce Ethnic Split

By Nicholas Wood

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Bosnia’s ethnic divisions seem most likely to become even more firmly entrenched, as partial results of national elections on Monday showed two parties with diametrically opposing views in the lead. The results could delay a move by the international authorities to end their oversight of the country.

After a campaign dominated by nationalist grandstanding, parties led by Haris Silajdzic, the Bosnian Muslim who was prime minister during the civil war fought from 1992 to 1995, and Milorad Dodik, the most prominent Bosnian Serb politician, were likely to dominate the country’s main institutions. Complete results in the voting for the country’s complex governing system were not expected until the end of the week.

During the election campaign, both men were criticized for increasing ethnic tensions as they outlined conflicting views of Bosnia’s future.

Each man advocates a tough version of the policies generally supported by his ethnic group. Bosnian Muslims, the country’s largest group, with some support from their Roman Catholic Croat allies, seek a more unified country. They want to carry out political and economic changes that will enable Bosnia to join the European Union.

But many Serbs still want the half of the country that they dominate to become independent, a position that set off the civil war.

Russia Severs Transport
Links with Georgia

By Steven Lee Myers

Russia announced on Monday that it was suspending air, rail, sea and road links to its small southern neighbor, Georgia, taking its first significant retaliatory steps following last week’s arrests by Georgia of four Russian military officers on accusations of espionage.

Several hours after Russia suspended travel, as well as postal service, between the two countries, Georgia released the four officers into the custody of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an international body to which both countries belong that had helped negotiate the release.

The officers and two others in Georgia who were accused, but not arrested, returned to Russia on a flight from Georgia on Monday night.

Their release, however, did not lead Russia to reconsider its actions. A Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said that the moves were intended to punish the Georgian authorities for what he called a pattern of hostile and provocative acts toward Russia that extended beyond the latest arrests.

“It’s a matter of changing their attitude totally,” he said in a telephone interview.

“Instead of making steps toward improving relations with Russia,” he added, “they are taking steps toward conflict.”

Hungarian Leader Calls
For a Vote of Confidence

By Judy Dempsey

The embattled prime minister of Hungary, Ferenc Gyurcsany, called Monday for a parliamentary vote of confidence in his national government after his party was drubbed over the weekend in local elections.

Gyurcsany has been trying to regain the initiative after weeks of growing political tumult as opposition parties have held mass rallies to drive him and his Socialist-led coalition from office after his admission that he had repeatedly lied about Hungary’s economic strength.

Andrea Szente, a spokeswoman for Gyurcsany’s office, said the prime minister would hold firm. “He wants to implement his economic reforms,” Szente said. “He sees no reason to resign. He wants to use this vote to show he has support for his reforms.”

Gyurcsany scheduled a vote of confidence for Friday after his government was swept by Fidesz, the conservative opposition party, in 18 of 19 regional councils. It was a devastating loss by the Socialists, erasing the gains they made in the 2002 local-government elections. They suffered heavy setbacks in Budapest, the capital, and other cities that had been longtime strongholds for the party and its smaller coalition allies. In Budapest, Fidesz won almost half the seats on the regional council.

If Gyurcsany and his Cabinet ministers lose the confidence vote, they must resign. But Imre Szekeres, vice president of the Socialist Party, predicted that they would survive by a comfortable margin.

Riots Spread as Incumbent
Widens Lead in Zambia Vote


y Michael Wines

President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia took an unexpectedly large lead on Monday as vote-counting neared an end in the nation’s presidential election and some supporters of his populist rival, Michael Sata, rioted for a second day.

Sata urged his followers to end the violence, but he also accused Mwanawasa of stealing the election and promised “a big battle” against Mwanawasa’s faction inParliament. Sata said he would not contest the election results in court, but at the same time refused to formally concede the race. “How can I concede when I am complaining of votes being stolen?” he said.

With votes tallied in all but 15 of Zambia’s 150 constituencies, Mwanawasa had captured 43 percent of the 2.52 million ballots counted, compared with 27 percent for Sata and 26 percent for Hakainde Hichilema, a businessman and the third major candidate.

The final total was delayed because impassable roads slowed the delivery of ballots from some rural provinces.

Sata complained that 400,000 votes in his strongholds, in urban areas like the copper-mining regions, were unaccounted for, and the national election commission said it was investigating the charge. European observers and local political analysts have said, however, that the election seemed relatively free of corruption.