Preliminary Official Results Confirm Serbia Reformist Win
The first official results released by Serbia's electoral commission Sunday confirmed a massive win by the country's pro-democracy reformists, sending the party of Slobodan Milosevic spinning into opposition.
Based on 31 percent of votes counted since polling booths closed late Saturday, the commission said the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) backing Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica had won 65 percent of the vote.
The result, widely expected and already announced by the 18-party coalition, will give the DOS 177 of the powerful assembly's 250 seats, said the president of the electoral commission, Andrija Simic.
Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) came in second with 14 percent of the ballots, giving it 38 seats.
In third place were erstwhile Milosevic allies, the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) led by ultra-nationalist Vojislav Seselj, which won eight percent, or 22 seats.
The only real surprise in Saturday's polls, which drew a turnout of around 58 percent, was that the party founded by slain paramilitary warlord Arkan scraped over the five percent threshold needed to get into parliament.
The Serbian Unity Party (SSJ) will hold 13 seats if the preliminary results are borne out.
DOS leader Zoran Djindjic blamed an ethnic Albanian insurgency in the south of the country for the SSJ's gains.
The result was a blow for the Yugoslav Left (JUL), the neo-communist party led by Milosevic's wife Mira Markovic, which had pulled out of a long-time alliance with the Socialists to run alone.
Markovic's party failed to make the grade to get into parliament.
The Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) of veteran opposition leader Vuk Draskovic also failed to pass muster. It had decided to shun the 18-party DOS alliance, founded in August to oust Milosevic, and go it alone in the polls -- BELGRADE (AFP)
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