Economic Woes Lead Swedes To Oust Center-Right

SWEDISH Prime Minister Carl Bildt resigned yesterday after losing a general election as voters swung left, opening a way for Social Democratic (SDP) leader Ingvar Carlsson to form a minority government.

Mr. Carlsson's SDP won 162 seats in the 349-seat parliament, 13 short of an overall majority. Carlsson led Sweden from 1986 until his government was ousted by Mr. Bildt's coalition in 1991. The Social Democratic leader has not said how he plans to govern, but hinted he will form a minority government.

Leftist parties have declared they are ready to cooperate with the center-left SDP but Carlsson has said he would prefer to cooperate with the centrist Liberal Party.

Bildt's defeat had been expected for weeks, after public opinion polls showed him trailing badly. Sweden's national debt stands at 1.3 trillion kronor ($170 billion), and unemployment has reached 14 percent.

On Nov. 13, Swedes will vote on whether to join the European Union, a big step for a nation that has prided itself on neutrality. The dominant parties back membership, but most voters are divided or undecided, according to most opinion polls. Bosnian Serbs isolate UN troops

DEFYING warnings of NATO air strikes, Bosnian Serbs set up heavy mortars near Sarajevo yesterday and briefly isolated a contingent of French peacekeepers.

Twenty to 30 French soldiers were penned up in their barracks at Poljina when Serb troops placed antitank mines on their access road and posted armed guards Sunday, United Nations officials said.

The Serbs removed the mines and guards around midday yesterday, said Col. Bernard Labarsoque, a UN spokesman.

Meanwhile, Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic agreed yesterday to halt provocative attacks on Bosnian Serbs around Sarajevo after UN peacekeepers threatened his forces with NATO airstrikes, a UN official said.

Mr. Izetbegovic and his military commander Gen. Rasim Delic reached the agreement at a meeting with Gen. Sir Michael Rose after Muslim and Serb forces battled Sunday.

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