'We're Still Waiting for Milosevic's Answer'

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Monday, 10:30 a.m., EST

"We're still waiting for Milosevic to give his own version of yesterday's election results. His party is still saying they're expecting him to win in the first round but they're waiting for the official result. The Federal Electoral Commission adjourned last night and we don't know whether they’ve resumed the vote count, yet. So the overall impression is that Milosevic is still weighing up his options, and so far hasn't made a decision.

"His options are simple: He can try to claim victory in the first round; declare serious irregularities in the vote and call for a repeat; or cause some sort of an incident in Serbia, Kosovo or Montenegro in order to create a national defense crisis. But even if he admits defeat by Kostunica, he could remain the most powerful man in Serbia as the head of the largest faction in parliament — which he'll be because of the Montenegrin boycott of the election. That would allow him to become prime minister, which is constitutionally more powerful than the presidency. But it would force him to admit he no longer has the popular vote, and that would be an extremely painful option — although it would allow him to survive politically. All the other options lead to a violent end.

"Serbia is heading into a political crisis that could last many weeks. Milosevic can either respect the election results, or open up a political crisis with a very uncertain, and probably violent end. But he hasn't yet made up his mind, although he'll have to do so within the next 24 hours. And we're all waiting — all of Serbia, and the rest of the world."