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Friday, November 21, 1997 Published at 11:53 GMT

Despatches: Europe
image: [ BBC Correspondent: Karen Coleman ]Karen Coleman
From Sarajevo

International election observers in Bosnia are threatening to strike off candidates participating in this weekend's parliamentary elections in the Bosnian Serb Republic unless posters of Radovan Karadzic are removed from public places. The observers have condemned the main Bosnian Serb party, the SDS, for putting up their campaign posters with Mr Karadzic's picture on them. He has been indicted for committing war atrocities during the Bosnian conflict and has been barred from holding any official position. It is against the electoral rules to put his picture in public places. Karen Coleman reports from Sarajevo:

Parliamentary elections for the Serb part of Bosnia take place this weekend but already the main Bosnian Serb party, the SDS, has flouted the rules. International officials who are supervising the elections have hit out at the party for displaying pictures of Mr Karadzic in public places. They are threatening to strike candidates off the electoral lists if the posters are not removed by this afternoon. Mr Karadzic has been indicted on war crimes charges. He is banned from holding any public position. But many Serbs are still loyal to him, including the most senior leaders of the SDS. The elections were called after a bitter power struggle developed between rival Bosnian Serb factions. Biljana Plavsic, the President of the Bosnian Serbs, dissolved the parliament earlier this year after she began accusing her opponents of corruption, saying they were being backed by Mr Karadzic. Since then the Republika Srpska has in effect split in two, with one faction loyal to Mrs Plavsic and the other to her opponents. Western diplomats have supported Mrs Plavsic in the struggle. The elections are likely to show whether or not she has the loyalty of the majority of the Bosnian Serbs.

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