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December 12, 1994
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 168
Autumn Election League

The Vracar Open

by Nenad Lj. Stefanovic

The autumn round of local elections is underway across Serbia. The opposition is leading 5 to 1 (some say even 6 to 1) after the election of Democratic Party member Gradimir Aleksic to the local council in Knjazevac. The ruling Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) managed to win only in Pancevo, while the opposition scored victories in Zemun, Zrenjanin, Elemir, Cacak, Knjazevac and twice in Pirot, but local referees ruled the Pirot election invalid.

There's still a lot of playing time left in the autumn round. Pirot is up first - a fourth round of the Nova Mala election is scheduled to take place between the Democratic Party and SPS.

Leposavic municipality in Kosovo will see two local elections on December 18: in the villages of Kamenica and Lesak. That same day will also see elections in Belgrade's Savski Venac municipality. But the match of the season will occur that same day in Belgrade's Vracar municipality with the SPS and Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) facing off.

Party headquarters say that the Vracar seat is worth as much as 10 others and that they have brought in the heavy artillery.

After a number of defeats at local elections that were never covered by the state media, the ruling SPS seems to have decided to defeat the opposition at Vracar. That most elite of all of Belgrade's municipalities doesn't have a single SPS member on the local assembly. A victory there would not bring changes in the local power structure, but would be symbolic. All of the media would cover Vracar and the SPS has decided to play it safe: federal minister Zoran Bingulac is their candidate.

The first round ended with Bingulac winning 192 of the 516 votes cast (out of a total electorate of 1018). Tomislav Jovicevic (DSS) is in the second round after winning 101 votes. Both men have left the Serbian Renewal Movement's Jovan Misevic (95 votes), Democratic Party's Zivota Karalazic (85), Mirjana Todorovic of the Civil Alliance of Serbia (21), New Democracy's Ratomir Tanic (13) and Bosko Draskovic of the League of Communists-Movement for Yugoslavia (four votes) behind.

The total of opposition votes leaves the impression that Jovicevic has a good chance of winning despite the first round lead scored by Bingulac. The problem is that in Vracar, as in other places, no one really knows who the opposition is and what kind of alliance is possible.

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