Defeated Panic says poll was rigged

THE DEFEATED Serbian presidental challenger, Milan Panic, yesterday denounced the landslide electoral victory of the nationalist incumbent, Slobodan Milosevic, as a fraud.

Mr Panic announced he was staying on in Serbia to remain at the helm of parties opposed to Mr Milosevic's government. 'I am not accepting the results,' he said. 'They were so full of irregularities that in any legal state they would be annulled.' He demanded fresh elections in 90 days, 'or at the latest by May next year'.

Mr Panic apeared to have recovered from the initial shock following the first results, which awarded Mr Milosevic a convincing victory in the contest for the Serbian presidency, and which suggested the ruling Socialists will remain the largest party in the Serbian parliament.

In relaxed and combative mood, Mr Panic dismissed talk of packing his bags and returning to the United States, where he made a fortune in the pharmaceuticals business before returning earlier this year to take up the largely symbolic post of Yugoslav Prime Minister.

He said he planned to provide leadership for the country's disunited opposition parties. 'I am going to work within the system,' he added. But he left open the question of whether he wished to retain his current post, as federal Prime Minister. 'What's the good of remaining Prime Minister if you have not got any power?' he asked.

During the past few months, Mr Panic's influence on events practically evaporated, as Serbia's ruling Socialists joined forces in parliament with the ultra-nationalist Radical Party to try to remove him from office. The new federal parliament, expected to be dominated by Socialists and Radicals, is likely to sack him soon after it meets.

While Mr Panic spoke, Vuk Draskovic, one of the leaders of Depos, the largest opposition coalition, said his supporters recognised Mr Panic as the real president of Serbia. 'The election was rigged to the last detail,' he said. 'It cannot be accepted and will not be accepted by any democrat in Serbia. As far as democratic Serbia is concerned, Panic is president.'

Mr Draskovic went on to accuse the ruling Socialists of carrying out a number of dirty tricks. He said that they had confiscated ballot boxes and substituted new ones on the night after the election. Addressing the biggest shock in the results - the huge showing for the Radical Party, led by Vojislav Seselj - he said: 'For a fascist party in Serbia to get six times as many votes as a similar party got in Croatia is the biggest scandal of all, for Serbia and for its traditions'.

The latest, incomplete, results awarded Mr Milosevic 56 per cent of the votes and Mr Panic only 35 per cent.

Alongside what looks like a landslide in the presidential race, the Socialists, led by Mr Milosevic, are on course to remain the largest party in Serbia's parliament.

The Radical Party, which backs Mr Milosevic, may emerge as the second-largest party in the parliament, confirming evidence of a drastic swing in the electorate towards extreme nationalism.

The aggressive stance adopted by Mr Draskovic towards the election results made it clear that Serbia is headed for more internal confrontation and instability in the new year.

Instead of clearing up, once and for all, who is in charge of the country, the election and the accusations of fraud that surrounded the vote have only sharpened tension between the government and its opponents.

The biggest immediate uncertainty concerns the future of the Yugoslav President, Dobrica Cosic. An old-time nationalist who wields considerable influence among ordinary Serbs, Mr Cosic threatened to resign if a more flexible and democratic regime did not replace Mr Milosevic after the elections.

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits