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Shevardnadze election in Georgia likely

Published Oct. 12, 2005

Peace did not return to Georgia when former Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze returned home this year to take power from an ousted president. But voters Sunday seemed confident nevertheless that he was the only man to restore calm in a republic riven by two separatist rebellions, a militant opposition front and the painful crawl toward a market economy. Shevardnadze, running unopposed, appeared assured of capturing the minimum one-third of votes needed to win the country's highest post of parliament chairman. The 3.6-million eligible voters in this tiny nation of 5.4-million also were to fill 234 legislative seats. Election officials said late Sunday that turnout was as high as 80 percent in some regions.

Incumbent leading in Romanian runoff

BUCHAREST, Romania _ Incumbent President Ion Iliescu led in a runoff election Sunday that pitted the former Communist minister against a challenger who promises to speed democratic and economic reform. The state radio projections, with a margin of error of 5 percent and based on a representative sample of 43,000 voters, gave Iliescu 58.05 percent of the vote to his rival's 41.95 percent. Officials said 60.5 percent of the 16.5-million voters cast ballots by 6 p.m. Preliminary results were expected today. Challenger Emil Constantinescu, the dean of Bucharest University, promised more capitalism and an end to Communist holdovers in government.

Cameroon president facing challenge

YAOUNDE, Cameroon _ Early, unofficial results Sunday in Cameroon's first democratic presidential election showed President Paul Biya facing a strong challenge in the capital from opposition candidates. Opposition leader John Fru Ndi's Social Democratic Front was pulling ahead in some polling stations, election officials said. The government said official returns would not be released before tonight. Officials said turnout was high among the 4-million registered voters.

Serbs vote on holding new elections

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia _ Voters decided on Sunday whether to move up parliamentary and presidential elections in a referendum that pitted hard-liners against moderates in a republic condemned for fomenting war in Bosnia. Yugoslav Prime Minister Milan Panic wants to move up the elections, but hard-line President Slobodan Milosevic has two more years in power and opposed any schedule change. The results will be announced Tuesday.

Lebanon's Christians divided in voting

BEIRUT, Lebanon _ Christians in a northeastern region were divided Sunday in the final stage of Lebanon's parliamentary elections, with some casting ballots and others carrying black banners and ringing church bells to protest the vote. Witnesses said the majority of nearly 800,000 registered voters in the constituency of Kesrouan boycotted the elections. Government officials and radio stations estimated that between 20 percent and 25 percent of the registered voters had cast their ballots by the time the polls closed. More than 95 percent of Kesrouan's residents are Maronite Christians, and many of their leaders oppose the elections, saying citizens cannot vote freely while Syrian troops control two-thirds of Lebanese territory.