Vote counting from Bolivia's weekend elections showed a virtual tie Monday between a former military dictator and the candidate of the ruling party, throwing the choice of the next president into Congress.

Unofficial returns from Bolivian news media showed former military dictator Hugo Banzer, of the Nationalist Democratic Action Party, with 25.44 percent of the vote, and Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, of the ruling National Revolutionary Movement Party, with 25.03 percent.In third place was the candidate of the Leftist Revolutionary Movement Party, Jaime Paz Zamora, who polled 20.77 percent. Six other candidates split the rest of the vote.

The 932,000 votes cast is about 45 percent of the 2.1 million eligible voters.

Officials returns were to be released later Monday by the government, but final results are not due until May 28. The 27 Senate seats and those of 130 deputies also were at stake in Sunday's election.

Banzer, 63, who headed a military government from 1971 to 1978 after a coup, recognized Sunday night that the election would be decided by Congress and said he would try to reach agreements with other parties to form a "unity government."

Congress is to meet Aug. 2-5 to choose a successor to retiring President Victor Paz Estenssoro.

Under the Bolivian Constitution, a candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the vote to win the presidency.