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Ultra-Nationalists Win Big in Serbian Election - 2003-12-29

Preliminary results of Sunday's Serbian parliamentary elections show an ultra-nationalist party led by an indicted war crimes suspect as the big winner in the vote.

The Serbian Radical Party, led by Vojislav Seselj, garnered the support of 27 percent of the electorate but is not expected to have enough support to form a government.

The results also show that former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist party won seven percent of the vote.

Mr. Seselj and Mr. Milosevic are both in The Hague, where they are facing trial before the United Nations tribunal for war crimes during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990's.

The main reform parties won a combined 42 percent of the vote.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe says the elections went well and generally met international standards.

The group says, however, that the republic's election law has some "serious shortcomings" and should be reformed as a matter of urgency.

It also said having indicted war crimes suspects as candidates sends a negative message and is politically irresponsible.

European and U.S. officials have warned Serbia that a nationalist government would isolate the republic and hurt chances for Serbia and Montenegro to join NATO and the European Union.