- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2008


Election outcome too close to call

LJUBLJANA | Exit polls and partial results from Slovenian parliamentary elections Sunday showed the opposition Social Democrats holding a razor-thin lead over the party of Prime Minister Janez Jansa. The vote was too close to predict the outcome.

Voters faced a choice between a prime minister bruised by a corruption claim and a leftist opposition that said the incumbent was endangering the nation’s democracy.

Results from the state-run Electoral Commission showed that, with two-thirds of votes counted, the Social Democrats held a lead of one percentage point. The results would give the party or 29 seats in the 90-seat parliament; Mr. Jansa’s center-right Slovenian Democrats, who won power four years ago, would control 28.

About 1.7 million people were eligible to vote for 90 parliament members - 88 of whom are elected from political parties and two of whom are chosen by Italian and Hungarian minorities.

The former Yugoslav country of 2 million people is a member of the European Union and NATO. It uses the euro currency and has living standards similar to those in Italy.


Policeman killed by separatist sniper

TBILISI | One Georgian policeman was killed and two wounded Sunday by sniper fire from Abkhaz separatist positions, the Georgian Interior Ministry said, while the Abkhaz side denied the claim.

The incident was the second killing of a Georgian policeman on the de facto Abkhaz border in just over a week, according to the Georgian side.

The announcement was denied by an official for the adjoining Abkhaz district, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.

Located on the Black Sea coast, Abkhazia is one of two Georgian rebel regions backed by Russia.

Last month, Russia and Georgia fought a brief war centered on the other rebel region, South Ossetia.

At least 200 European Union observers are also due to deploy to Georgia by Oct. 1 as part of the plan.


Basque terrorists suspected in blast

MADRID | Basque separatist suspects threw gasoline bombs at a police station in Ondarroa in northeastern Spain to lure officers outside before detonating a car bomb, which injured 10 people, police said Sunday.

Hours earlier, a car bomb exploded in the regional capital of Vitoria. Nobody was injured. Authorities suspect the militant Basque separatist organization ETA of having been behind both blasts, each involving about 220 pounds of explosives.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero condemned the attacks, vowing that “democracy would not step back a millimeter” from its fight against ETA.

The leader of the regional government and head of the Basque Nationalist Party Inigo Urkullu also denounced the bombings.


Neo-Nazis join Waffen SS ceremony

ULRICHSBERG | Hundreds of neo-Nazi sympathizers honored Waffen SS veterans at the 50th anniversary of the Ulrichsberg gathering in southern Austria on Sunday.

Grouped on top of the Ulrichsberg mountain in the Carinthia province, a stronghold of the far-right nationalist leader Jorg Haider, about 500 people paid homage to the Third Reich soldiers’ “sense of sacrifice.”

Among the supporters were representatives from veterans groups and from the Austrian army, as well as younger neo-Nazis and retired soldiers carrying the banners of the Flemish SS volunteers.

Skinheads from several European countries applauded the proceedings, while women served schnapps to stave off the cold weather.

Held since 1958 amid tight security, the gathering sparks controversy every year, not least because of its official status. Anti-fascist demonstrators staged a protest near the venue Sunday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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