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Uganda puts off touchy elections

A sigh of relief has come from most Ugandan politicians at the announcement that the first presidential and parliamentary elections in 18 years -- originally scheduled for Sept. 30 -- have been postponed until the end of the year, Monitor special correspondent John Worrall reports.

But the postponement still does not give election authorities much time to complete the voters' rolls, fix constituency boundaries, and most important of all, provide some kind of internal security to replace the violence that has racked Uganda for many months.

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One crisis has yet to be resolved. Those in opposition to former President Milton Obote's United People's Congress object strongly to the limit of 126 seats to be voted for. Eleven ministers and assistant ministers in Paul Muwanga's ruling commission, a coalition, threatened to withdraw support from the government unless the number of seats was extended to 140. That would bring in large numbrs of voters, such as many Baganda tribesmen, likely to be opposed to Mr. Obote.

In addition, politically inspired violence seems to be getting worse rather than subsiding. Party leaders accuse one another of unleashing thugs and armed bands on election meetings. Obote has been charged with bringing in his militia to intimidate voters.

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