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Milosevic maintains comfortable margin, runoff in Montenegro

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- Serbia's communist president Tuesday maintained a comfortable victory margin in returns from the republic's first post-war multi-party polls but the Marxist contender in Montenegro faced a runoff because of an election law technicality.

In the Republic of Macedonia, election officials said results from three rounds of polling that began Nov. 11 gave the largest bloc of seats in the new legislature to a party of extreme nationalists.

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The Election Commission of Serbia said President Slobodan Milosevic captured 62.4 percent of the votes Sunday in 143 of 250 districts for which counting was was complete.

Second was author Vuk Draskovic, a former Marxist and leader of the nationalist Serbian Renewal Movement, with 17.5 percent, followed by Ivan Djuric, a history professor and candidate of the Alliance of Reformist Forces, with 7.5 percent.

Milosevic failed in only one district to capture the most votes, with people in Senta-Ada, near the Hungarian border, favoring Djuric.

News reports quoting local election officials said Milosevic, 49, who has been in power since 1987, was leading in most of the 107 electoral districts where vote-counting was still under way.

The Election Commission said candidates of the Socialist Party of Serbia, the name taken by the communists in July, won 34 races for the 250-member unicameral assembly. Five contests went to candidates of an ethnic Hungarian party.

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Runoffs will be held Dec. 23 in 181 contests because no candidates won majorities, the commission said. Communists were the top vote- getters in 91 of the races.

About 80 percent of Serbia's 6.8 million voters participated in the first post-war multi-party elections in the largest of Yugoslavia's six republics.

In the Montenegro capital of Titograd, 380 miles south of Belgrade, election officials revised their projections and said Communist Party chief Momir Bulatovic faced a runoff for president because his 163,000 votes were less than 50 percent of the 410,000 registered voters.

Bulatovic, however, captured more than twice the number of ballots than his nearest rival, Ljubisa Stankovic of the Alliance of Reformist Forces, which advocates Western-style economic and political reforms. The runoff will be held Dec. 23.

Officials reiterated that candidates of the ruling League of Communists of Montenegro were ahead in most races for the 125-seat assembly, but withheld vote counts for unknown reasons.

Meanwhile, the completion Sunday of a third round of voting in Macedonia for a 120-member assembly gave the Macedonian Party for Macedonian National Unity -- known by the initials VMRO -- 37 seats, said the Election Commission in the republic's capital of Skopje, 280 miles southeast of Belgrade.

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VMRO advocates autonomy for the republic of about 2 million.

In second place were the communists with 31 seats, followed by the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity with 25 seats and the Alliance of Reformist Forces with 18 seats.

The rest went to smaller parties and independents. The result in one seat was unavailable.

While the elections ended absolute communist rule, no party won a majority of seats, requiring the formation of a coalition. There were no indications as to whether any progress had been made between the parties on forming a new government.

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