Irregularities hinder Serbs in Croatian elections

April 14, 1997|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- Widespread irregularities prevented many Serbs from voting in national elections in Croatia yesterday, in a flunked first test of U.S.-backed plans to lead the last rebel enclave in the Balkan country back to Croatian rule.

Voting was so chaotic in Eastern Slavonia, a Serbian-held enclave in the eastern corner of Croatia, that United Nations officials first ordered polls to stay open an extra two hours last night and then for nine more hours today.

International monitors had hoped that the Serbs of Eastern Slavonia would feel safe enough to vote in the election as an indication of their willingness to remain in the region and live under a Croatian government.

Many Serbs who had registered to vote found that their names had mysteriously vanished from voter rolls, U.N. officials said.

Ballots and ballot boxes arrived up to seven hours late at polling stations in Serbian areas; many polling stations opened late, or election officials simply failed to show up.

Pub Date: 4/14/97

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