News for February 15th, 1997

Zoran Djindjic, one of the "Zajedno" coalition leaders, informed today that the opposition coalition is stopping their street protests because the return of mandates to this coalition has achieved the first goal of this protest. At the 88th opposition protest gathering against the annulment of local election results held at Republic square, Djindjic said that what follows is a struggle to free the media and set a deadline to the authorities until the 9th of March to free the media in Serbia, otherwise the citizen protest shall continue. He said that this will be followed by an Election Law which will enable all parties to take part in elections at even terms. The "Zajedno" coalition shall constitute a local government in the Belgrade Assembly on Friday, 21. February. This government shall treat Mladenovac and New Belgrade as municipalities with a special status, said Djindjic.

Student Protest representatives stated in Belgrade tonight that their demonstrations shall continue until every mandate is returned to the citizens, including the municipalities of New Belgrade and Mladenovac. At least 5,000 students started a protest march around 19:15 unimpeded by police forces.

The first cracks in the internal defense lines of the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic have appeared, "The Daily Telegraph" estimates today, stating that he is losing control over his strongest trump card - the state controlled Radio-television of Serbia. The newspaper adds that the opposition now has control over the local television stations in the 14 cities it has acquired victory in, and that these stations, put together, cover between 60 and 70 percent of the Serbian territory. "The Daily Telegraph" considers that serious conflicts between the opposition and the authorities on the account of the Belgrade television "Studio B" may appear even in the next few days.

Zoran Lilic, President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, nominated Radoje Kontic for the new mandatary of the Federal Government.

Zoran Djindjic, President of the Democratic Party, said that "he doesn't know" whether today will be the last day of the protests of the "Zajedno" coalition against the annulment of the results of the local elections.

President of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), Vuk Drasskovich, says that it will be a very hard task for those who come as mayors to the cities governed by the opposition, because the municipalities and towns have been "looted and destroyed". He also added that the new mayer will certainly be known before the Belgrade Assembly is constituted, but he refused to directly answer the question whether he supports the nomination of the president of the DS, Zoran Djindjich. Leader of the SPO refused to talk about the possibility of himself as a nominee, and he also refused to comment the rumors of having Bogoljub Karic as an opposing candidate.

Zoran Djindjic, President of the DS, stated that "the new mayor of Belgrade should be a candidate capable of gaining the most in the political sense for the "Zajedno" coalition. Being asked if he would offer any position to the previous president of the City Assembly, once elected as mayor, he said it would be "misunderstood from both sides".

Negotiations between educational workers and Serbian Government representatives were stopped after three and a half hours without any agreements on the height of labour value. The Government offered a raise of the coefficient by 20%, just like yesterday, while the educational workers rejected the offer.

The representatives of the free-lance associates of the Radio-television Politika who are presently on strike presented Goran Kozic, the station's Chief Editor, with a letter demanding the payment of the December and January incomes and the establishment of a fixed term for the payment of the fees and the solution to their status. Approximately 150 free-lancers, mostly technicians, gathered again today at 10:30 before the "Politika" company building, thus continuing the strike in this media institution.

The Serbian Renewal Movement has supported the strike of the free-lance associates of the Radio-television Politika, who are demanding their December and January fees to be paid out to them.

In today`s quote by Radmila Milentijevic, Minister of Information, it is clearly stated that the pro-government media sources are much more professional than the ones in the opposition media sources, and that the freedom of the press is "almost unlimited" - even of a higher level in Serbia than in other countries. She said that she came from the USA, where she has been teaching history at a University in New York, to help Slobodan Milosevic in these difficult times.

The reporters of the local means of information from Jagodina demanded the representatives in the Serbian Assembly today to alter their decision on naming Radmila Milentijevic as the Republic Minister for Information.

The supporters of the "Zajedno" coalition in Kragujevac held their 75th protest rally today, on the account of the annulment of the November 17th local elections results. He appealed to the citizens not to pay taxes on the electric meters, though the final decision on this action will be brought on Monday. Stevanovic also invited the Kragujevac citizens to protect Rajica Markovic, their fellow townsman and worker in "Zastava - Namenski proizvodi", who was accused of injuring a policeman during the conflict with the police on January 23rd, when access to Batocina was blocked. The protest will continue on Monday.

The Information Service of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) has announced that Vuk Draskovic, President of the SPO received a letter from a group of foreign correspondents whose activities are connected with the International Press Center (MPC), complaining that, starting recently, large problems have occurred in their work. The foreign correspondents are associating these problems with the arrival of Marina Petrovic, member of the Main Board of the Yugoslav Left to the position of the Manager of the MPC and Zoran Djevdjovic to the position of General Manager of Tanjug, the announcement cites.

Vice-President of the Yugoslav Left, Nenad Djordjevich, says that the opposition has no other goal than to overthrow the government, and that the attention should be paid to the development of the economy.

The "Zajedno" coalition "doesn't seem to wish for the situation to calm down", and its obvious goal is "the violent acquirement of power on the street", the today's double edition of the Belgrade "Borba" writes.

Svetozar Krstic, recent Vice-president of the Serbian Government and member of the top-ranked leadership of the New Democracy (ND), stated that there are significant differences in the attitudes of the ND, Socialist Party of Serbia and the Yugoslav Left towards the rate of privatization, estimations of the interest of the foreign capital for investing in the domestic economy, the value of the Serbian enterprises, as well as toward the issue of the distribution of the public property free of cost.

The Municipal Board of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) announced today that it has decided to convoke an extraordinary assembly of the party. The announcement cites that, based on the analysis of the conditions both within the party and in Serbia, a decision has been made for the extraordinary assembly to be convoked of which the Regional Board of Sumadija and the Executive Board of the DSS have been notified. The Municipal Board of the Kragujevac DSS also considers the exclusion of some members from the Main Board "politically damaging and harmful to the moral integrity and political existence" of the party.

Ljubisa Arsenijevic, a Republic delegate for the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) proposed at the 74. protest gathering in Leskovac tonight an initiative to erase the Yugoslav Left (JUL) and the Serbian Socialist Party (SPS) from the register.

Vladan Batic, Vice-President of the Democratic Party of Serbia stated for the Beta news agency today that he was surprised by the decision to expel him from the party membership and expressed his conviction in the short life of this decision. The Democratic Party of Serbia expelled, aside from Mr. Batic, Predrag Stojanovic, Dusan Drinjakovic and Gvozden Jankovic for not fulfilling duties and breaking rules set by the Constitution of the party.

Predrag Stojanovic, Municipal Board President of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) in Kraljevo stated tonight, in relation to the proposal for his dismissal from the party, that the party Board in Kraljevo was a thorn in the side of the party because of its demand for a local level establishment of the "Zajedno" coalition.

Actor Ljubivoje Tadic, who has been the announcer at protest rallies in Belgrade for all 88 days, said that composer Zoran Hristic had composed "the cantata for 100 whistles and pans", which is the first of this kind in the world and which will be premiered at the celebration on the day of the Belgrade Assembly constitution.

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