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Sunday, December 28, 1997 Published at 04:55 GMT


Bosnia power struggle continues
image: [ Bosnian rivals make a rare public appearance together ]
Bosnian rivals make a rare public appearance together

The new Bosnian Serb parliament has met for the first time, but adjourned until January 12 after failing to agree on the appointment of new leaders.

Differences between rival groups over the agenda for the meeting and its television coverage slowed progress towards nominating a prime minister.

Elections in November were aimed at concluding a power struggle between the western-backed Biljana Plavsic and supporters of the indicted war criminal, Radovan Karadzic.

Three deputies from the other Bosnian entity, the Moslem-Croat Federation, were absent from the session.

The Serb Democratic Party (SDS), which supports Mr Karadzic, rejects the Dayton peace agreements, lost control of parliament in the election. But no group has an overall majority.

[ image: Rivals in parliament]
Rivals in parliament
Mrs Plavsic, who has the backing of the international community, proposed a non-partisan candidate, Mladen Ivanic, for the post of prime minister, but he was rejected by the SDS.

The parliament's speaker, Dragan Kalinic, warned that "great obstacles" will have to be overcome by the new parliament.

The top international official in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Carlos Westendorp, insisted the new parliament convene despite fears that it would entrench the divisions between the two factions.

Mr Kalinic met with representatives of all the major parties ahead of parliament reconvening in a bid to find a solution to the power struggle.

He said: "We shall see if we manage to harmonise our views to a greater degree and make it possible for the People's Assembly to function properly.

"Despite our effort to find a solution which would be satisfactory for the key parliamentary parties, I must say that we still face great obstacles."

The SDS and its ally, the Serb Radical Party, were left without an absolute majority after the elections, although they clinched the most votes to take a combined 24 of the 83 seats.

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