The pro-democracy Civic Forum took a commanding lead in local government elections in the Czech Republic while the conservative Christian Democratic movement led in Slovakia as the nation continued on course to participatory democracy, returns showed.

The elections, held Friday and Saturday in Slovakia and Saturday only in the Czech lands of Moravia and Bohemia, were the first for local and county government offices since 1938.Civic Forum's sister group, Public Against Violence, captured the mayor's office in Slovakia's two largest cities of Bratislava and Kosice but gained only 20.4 percent of the overall vote behind the Christian Democrats' 27.4 percent, according to returns Sunday.

Election officials estimated Civic Forum gained 40 percent of the votes and 33 percent of the mandates in the Czech Lands of Bohemia and Moravia, and 28 percent of both the vote and seats in Silesia, which together comprise the country's western republic.

Civic Forum took a big win in Prague with 50.3 percent of the vote and 60 percent of the mandates, followed by the communists with 16 and 20 percent respectively.

The projections were based on results in 300 electoral precincts, or 2 percent of all precincts in Bohemia and Moravia.

The Communist Party was in second place in the Czech Lands with an estimated 17.4 percent of the vote and 15.6 percent of the seats. It was followed by the People's Party, a center-right Christian Democrat party, with 12.1 percent and 15.8 percent respectively.

The strongest showing for the People's Party was in Moravia and Silesia, while projections showed the communists' strongest support in the Czech Lands was in medium-sized cities of 50,000 to 100,000 population.

Independent candidates in the Czech Republic gained an estimated 10.5 percent of the vote, but their power was spread over 26.6 percent of seats.

The voters rejected nationalist movements across Czechoslovakia. The Slovak National Party took less than 5 percent of the vote, and the Silesian-Moravian independence movement had 12 percent of the vote and 6 percent of the mandates.