ROMANIA'S LOCAL ELECTIONS SET PEACEFUL PRECEDENT

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* Romania's first free local elections in more than 50 years passed with only minor upsets and without the turmoil that followed the December 1989 revolution.

There were brief clashes in a northern village, minor vandalism, and polling station blunders stemming mainly from inexperience, but there were no serious incidents or violence during the balloting for mayors and local councils.

Preliminary results are due tomorrow. A second round will take place in areas with inconclusive results.

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An election commission official said the turnout might be above 70 percent of the 16.6 million registered voters.

The elections were regarded as a demonstration of the extent to which Romania had embraced democracy since dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown and executed in 1989. Results should indicate voting trends for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held within three months.

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