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Yugoslav Elections: Milosevic Losing to Opposition CandidateAired September 26, 2000 - 2:01 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We begin this hour with breaking news out of Yugoslavia. There are early indications regarding the results from Sunday's first-ever presidential election.
And Belgrade bureau chief Alessio Vinci joins us now with details of that news.
Alessio, what's happening?
ALESSIO VINCI, CNN BELGRADE BUREAU CHIEF: Lou, we have just received a statement from the federal electoral commission that was read loud on Serbian television. According to that statement, after counting 65 percent of the vote here in Yugoslavia, President Milosevic is at this point losing the election. According to the statement, President Milosevic has 40.23 percent of the vote compared to Mr. Kostunica, the opposition candidate, who at this point is having 48.22 percent of the vote.
If this result is confirmed, it will mean that a second round of voting will be necessary in two week's time, in early October, in order to decide who the next president of this country will be.
However, I must tell you that these results are in sharp contrast with the results that we've been receiving earlier today from the Democratic Opposition of Serbia, the parties backing Mr. Kostunica. They are claiming that with over 90 percent of the votes, they have counted -- Mr. Kostunica is winning in the first round -- he's winning in the first round with over 50 percent of the vote, something like 54.6 percent of the votes, meaning that Kostunica's camp believe that a second round is not necessary.
There go again: Mr. Milosevic, according to state television, losing the election at this point with 65 percent of the vote -- with 40 percent of the vote, compared to Mr. Kostunica, 48 percent of the vote. We have to see now what the reaction will be, first of all, from the Kostunica camp. We understand they are having a press conference at this time. As soon as we have details about their reaction, we will let you know.
Back to you, Lou.
WATERS: Let me know a little bit about this runoff process, Alessio. If these results hold, what's to suggest that the results would be any different in any runoff at any time? VINCI: Absolutely, Lou. If there were to be a runoff, all indications are that Mr. Kostunica will win. This is because the opposition parties which will not -- which have run in this election so far, there were two major blocs: the parties backing Mr. Kostunica, but there was also some opposition party called the Serbian Renewal Movement. That party has lost the election, but it has so far 6, 7 percent of the population backing that party. All those votes will be for Kostunica.
Mr. Milosevic will probably receive the same amount of votes, and it is likely that, in a second round, all votes that were against Mr. -- for the Serbian Renewal Movement, would go for Mr. Milosevic. The leader of that part, Vuk Draskovic, in a statement earlier today saying that he regretted not having united with the opposition. Therefore, if the second round is taking place, it is likely that Mr. Kostunica would win.
WATERS: Has the general Serbian population gotten wind of this news you are reporting to us, Alessio?
VINCI: Well, it was announced on the main state broadcast here, so it is very likely that the majority of the people in Serbia at this point know that, for the first time in the decade-long regime of President Milosevic, Mr. Milosevic has or is actually losing an election.
Again, I want to stress these are preliminary results that are issued by the federal electoral commission with 65 percent of the vote. There is no indication, however, that those result will change with -- as the count continues.
WATERS: All right, Alessio Vinci keeping watch in Belgrade today.
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