YU group will seek to monitor elections

BELGRADE, Sep 13, 2000 -- (Reuters) A Serbian organization said on Tuesday it would apply to monitor this month's presidential and parliamentary elections in Yugoslavia despite a government accusation that it was a Western-sponsored enemy of the country.

The Center for Free Elections and Democracy (CESID), a non-governmental organization which has been training thousands of monitors, said it would apply to the election commission and should be accredited if the constitution was observed.

"If they do not allow our observers into polling stations, we will be outside. None of the volunteers will be idle," CESID director Slobodanka Nedovic was quoted by Beta news agency as saying.

The presidential and parliamentary polls and local elections in Serbia will be held on September 24.

Yugoslav Information Minister Goran Matic has called the CESID an "American outpost" and said it would not be allowed to supervise the elections.

"We do not need any delegates of American institutions whose main goal is deceit and occupation of our society," he told a news conference over the weekend.

Yugoslavia has also said it will not allow monitors from NATO countries who participated in the 1999 air campaign against it or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to check the ballots.

It said it had invited monitors from Russia, China and India instead.

Opposition leaders have expressed fears that President Slobodan Milosevic may declare victory even if he loses the vote.

The authorities say the opposition is aware Milosevic will win convincingly and is preparing the ground to dispute the legality of the elections.

Original article