BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) - Vojislav Seselj, a war crimes suspect charged with being part of a plot to murder, torture and expel non-Serbs during the 1990s Balkans wars, will top his party's ballot list in Serbia's upcoming general elections, his aide said Monday.
Seselj is currently in jail in the Netherlands awaiting the start of his trial by the Hague-based U.N. war crimes tribunal. He is first on the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party's list of candidates in the Jan. 21 parliamentary vote, the party's campaign chief Dragan Todorovic told the state Tanjug news agency.
Seselj's placement at the top of the ticket practically guarantees him a seat in Serbia's next parliament after the elections. His party's ballot list will be called "the Serbian Radical Party -Vojislav Seselj," Todorovic said.
Seselj ruled Serbia with former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic during the Balkan wars. His extremist party holds 80 seats in Serbia's 250-seat assembly and will be the chief challenger to several pro-democratic groups.
Seselj's party, which he heads from jail in the Netherlands, said he started a hunger strike last week demanding the tribunal grant him free choice of legal advisers, unrestricted spousal visits and an unconditional right to conduct his own defense.
He has lost 11 kilograms (24 pounds) since starting the hunger strike, the Radical Party said in a statement Monday, adding that Seselj "was aware of the (health) risks ... but will not give up" his demands and will continue refusing to be examined by physicians at the detention facility.
Seselj has pleaded innocent to nine charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for allegedly being part of a criminal plot to murder, torture and illegally imprison non-Serbs in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo in the wars during the breakup of Yugoslavia.
His trial is scheduled to start Nov. 27. He voluntarily turned himself in to The Hague tribunal in 2003.