Bosnian elections likely to be delayed again
March 6, 1997
Web posted at: 8:53 a.m. EST (1353 GMT)
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (CNN) -- The official in charge of local elections in Bosnia, scheduled for mid-July, has recommended that they be postponed for two months. This would be the third time balloting has been delayed in a year.
A statement from Danish Foreign Minister Niels Helveg
Petersen, who heads the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe, said he made this recommendation in
compliance with advice from the OSCE mission to Bosnia and with the approval of European Union and NATO
The OSCE was expected to make an official statement later Thursday on the new election dates, which Petersen said would be September 13 and 14.
Western countries funding the elections had been pushing for
a third postponement of the vote to allow more time to
organize refugee registration and international monitoring.
Petersen said that success of the polls depended largely on
the behavior of local political groups.
"In this context the Chairman-in-Office urges the local
parties to ensure, in particular, freedom of movement, equal
access to free media and prompt installation of
democratically elected officials," the statement said.
The local polls were originally to be held in September 1996,
along with general elections, but were postponed because of
widespread election fraud over refugee registration. They
were moved to November last year and then to July of this
The 54-member OSCE, Europe's top security body, is in
charge of organizing the elections -- seen as essential for reunification after the country's devastating war.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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