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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 4, 1996


Serbian Elections Crisis

We are deeply concerned by decisions of the Serbian government to annul the results of the November 17 municipal elections won by the opposition. These steps undermine the election process and invalidate Serbian leaders claims that they are committed to democracy. The continuing demonstrations around the country show that the Serbian people take seriously their right to choose their leaders. Denial of the democratic rights of citizens, such as the annulment of the opposition victories, can lead only to the continued decline and isolation of Serbia.

We call on the Serbian government to respect the democratic will of the people and to accept the results of the November 17 elections. We condemn the closure of the independent radio stations, including Radio B-92. Attempts to stifle the opposition s call to respect the democratic will of the people and to keep the Serbian public in the dark will only exacerbate the situation.

We commend the opposition for its adherence to non-violence and call upon the Serbian government to avoid any use of force against peaceful protestors. The Serbian government should harbor no illusions: any crackdown will provoke a strong reaction from the international community, resulting in Serbia s further isolation.

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