Parliament accepts Milosevic-triggered government resignation
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) – Yugoslav lawmakers on Wednesday accepted the resignation of the prime minister and his Cabinet allies, who gave up their posts to protest Slobodan Milosevic’s extradition to an international war crimes tribunal.
The resignation of the government led by Prime Minister Zoran Zizic drove a deeper wedge between Montenegro and Serbia, the two republics in the already fragile Yugoslav federation. The constitution calls for federal elections if a new government is not in place three months after a prime minister’s resignation.
Zizic, a former Milosevic ally, told parliament that last week’s sudden extradition of the former Yugoslav president ”destabilized the country.”
Saying Milosevic’s extradition by the government of Serbia, the dominant Yugoslav republic, was ”illegitimate,” Zizic said: ”There is no European country which would extradite its former president in this manner.”
Police blocked the downtown federal parliament building during the session, anticipating more rallies by Milosevic supporters who have been protesting his extradition to The Hague-based tribunal.
Mirjana Markovic, Milosevic’s wife and a lawmaker for her neo-communist Yugoslav Left Party, attended the session without taking part in the debate.
Politicians from Yugoslavia’s smaller republic of Montenegro have promised to work with Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica to form a new government and resolve the political crisis.
Later Wednesday, Kostunica, who also opposed Milosevic’s extradition to The Hague, met with his pro-democracy Serbian coalition and discussed the composition of the new federal government. His office said he would meet former coalition partners from Montenegro again on Thursday.
After the Wednesday talks, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic said that Serbia’s leadership agrees that the prime minister of the next Yugoslav Cabinet should again be from the ranks of Zizic’s Montenegrin Socialist People’s Party.
Djindjic said the likely candidate was Predrag Bulatovic, the party’s leader, and that the restructured Yugoslav government should have two main tasks – to draft a new constitution that redefines relations between the two constituent republics and prepare for the next federal elections.
Angered by Milosevic’s handover, Kostunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia has also urged the reshuffling of the Serbian government led by Djindjic, his rival. Media reports said that Kostunica’s party would seek key police and justice ministerial posts.
Reflecting the split between the two leading Yugoslav politicians, Djindjic said Wednesday that replacing individual ministers is ”out of the question.”
”We can only speak about the removal of the whole government,” Djindjic said.
Serbia is by far the larger of the two remaining republics in Yugoslavia and effectively determines Yugoslav policies.
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