News for February 20th, 1997

The City Assembly of Belgrade will be constituted tomorrow, with the opposition holding the majority of the representative seats for the first time since the Second World War, since the "Zajedno" coalition has 67 out of 110 mandates in this assembly. The session was convoked by the President of the Serbian Parliament on the grounds of the special law on the acknowledgement of the results of the local elections, adopted by the Parliament on February 11th, and on the initiative of the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. The Socialist Party of Serbia and The Yugoslav Left have 24 representatives in the Belgrade Assembly, The Serbian Radical Party has 17, while the Democratic Party of Serbia has two.

Approximately one hundred students of the School of Mechanical Engineering in Belgrade conducted the action of "fishing for the Chancellor" of the Belgrade University Dragutin Velickovic, whose resignation is demanded by the Belgrade students today at noon. The students of this school "hunted" for the Chancellor today, on the 91st day of the protest against the disrespect of the electoral will of the citizens, and pursued the hunt in the Danube by the Sports center "25th of May" on Dorcol, while the bait was a party book of the Socialist Party of Serbia. Following this action, the students of the School of Mechanical Engineering joined their colleagues at the Plato in front of the School of Philosophy.

The Belgrade students "visited" the state controlled media houses Serbian Radio-Television and the Politika company today again, because they do not agree with their reports of the ongoing events. About 10,000 students, who have been protesting for 91 days because of the disrespect of the electoral will of the citizens, made an additional trip order to visit to the building of the Serbian government, where the for a week education workers from Belgrade and Vojvodina have been gathering demanding higher wages.

Oliver Dulic, member of the Initiative Board of the Student Protest 96\97 announced today that only after the Chancellor and the Student Vice-chancellor have resigned from their functions, will the further, new models of the Student Protest be considered.

The adoption and putting into effect of the special law on pronouncing the preliminary results of the local elections from November 17th final, may be regarded as the fulfillment of the first demand of the Student Protest 96\97, the Deans of almost all schools of the Belgrade University as well as the managers of the institutes concluded today.

The Student Protest '96/97 asked that the president of the Supreme Court Balsa Govedarica and the president of the First Municipal Court be relieved of their posts. The statement explains that the proposal for the starting of the initiative for the relieving of Govedarica because of the "unprofessional and unethical conduct of the judge function and the illegal use of the position of the president of the Supreme Court" has been filed to the General session of the Supreme Court of Serbia and the Board of Justice and the management of the Serbian Parliament. The proposal for the changing of Jankovic was filed at the General session of the Supreme Court of Serbia, the Counsil of the First Municial Court in Belgrade and the Board of Justice and Government of Serbia.

A group of representatives of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) in the Municipality Assembly (SO) of Leskovac formed, late last night, at the premises of the SO a new representative group, named "Citizen's group", the Beta news agency discovers from the well informed sources. Out of a group of 37 SPS representatives, "three to four representatives" refuse to step out of the SPS. The Yugoslav Left has 13 mandates in the SO of Leskovac, the "Zajedno" coalition has seven, and the Serbian Radical Party has one. The same sources add that the former SPS representatives are in incessant contact with the "Zajedno" coalition and that they are negotiating about the future partnership in the SO of Leskovac for the purpose of providing the necessary majority.

Dragan Milovanovic, President of the Association of the Free and Independent Syndicates, stated today that this syndicate will continue the cooperation with the "Zajedno" coalition, commenced preceding the November elections.

Dragor Hiber, President of the Executive Board of the Civil Alliance of Serbia (GSS) said today that the members of the "Zajedno" coalition will compose an agreement on the mutual organs of this coalition, the joined appearance at the upcoming elections and the structure of the organs in the municipalities and cities controlled by the opposition. He said at a press conference that the agreements have their drawbacks, but that the GSS is willing all documents connected with them.

Vojislav Seselj, President of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) prejudicated that the MPs of the SRS will vote against the election of Zoran Djindjic for mayor tomorrow at the constitutional session of the City Assembly of Belgrade.

Vojislav Seselj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party incriminated the leaders of the Student Protest of being "bribed" and that they have received "great material benefit" out of the student demonstrations.

Dusan Vasiljevic, spokesman for the Student Protest '96/97 denied the accusations of the president of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) Vojislav Seselj, that the leadership of the Student Protest is "bribed" and that it has "great material benefits" from the student demonstrations.

The professors and associates of the School of Chemistry pointed out at the possibility of irreparable collapse in the course of lectures at the University, and all this because of the irresponsible behaviour and caprice of one individual. The announcement cites: "Everybody in this country and the majority of the world is acquainted with the Student Protest 96\97. It is a part of a broad citizen protest caused by the electoral fraud in November 1997. Besides the demands for correction of the injustice and the punishment of the culprits, the students proposed, as a demand, the resignation of the Chancellor and the Student Vice-chancellor, because of their inappropriate behaviour in the midst of the crisis that has been shaking the University". The text further states that the decisions of the Serbian Assembly have offered ways to the solution of the problems connected with the first demand of the Student Protest, and that it will take tile to estimate whether these problems were adequately solved, but that the lectures could commence when the remaining two demands are met, that is, the irrevocable resignation of the Chancellor Dragutin Velickovic and the Student Vice-chancellor Vojin Djurdjevic.

The Assembly of the Municipality of Pirot was constituted today, in accordance with the special law on the proclaiming the preliminary results of the November elections final. The "Zajedno" coalition, with 28 out of 50 representatives, has the majority in the City Assembly, which enables it to freely constitute the government. The Socialist Party of Serbia has 21 representative, and the Serbian Radical Party has one.

Milo Djukanovic, President of the Montenegrin Government, stated that it would be politically incorrect for the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to retain any position in the political life of Serbia.

On the basis of "lex specialis" which was brought by the Serbian Parliament, and which proclaims the final results of the local elections from November 17th, the Assembly of the Belgrade municipality Palilula was constituted today. At the today's constitutional session of this municipality, all 55 representative mandates were verified, out of which 29 are of the "zajedno" coalition, 14 of the Socialist Party of Serbia, eight of the Serbian Radical Party, three of the Democratic Party of Serbia and one of a group of citizens.

The Serbian Democratic Party (DSS) strongly condemned yesterday's "attack" by the Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Marjanovic on the education workers and "repression threats" and stated that this can only cause "great repulsion".

The education syndicate in Subotica stated that the government is putting greater pressure on the education workers in this city, who have been on strike for a few weeks.

The negotiation of the Serbian government and the representatives of the education workers were ended today without an agreement since the government representatives stuck to their convictions, i.e. the 30% raise to the earlier base of 220 dinars (44 USD) with the promise that the late salaries would soon be paid. The teachers, who have been in strike for almost a month, demanding higher wages and payment of late salaries, stated that the strike will continue.

A few hundred mothers with their children protested last night on the central city square in Nis demanding 11 late child benefit payments.

About 30 percent of the kindergartens in Belgrade will accept the children which cannot be attended in any other way, said the president of the Syndicate of Belgrade kindergarten employees, Marija Tunic and added that the strike of kindergarten employees will continue.

The Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) will participate in the republic parliamentary elections independently, announced Vojislav Kostunica, the president of that party, in Nis today. The differences between programs and political positions of the DSS and the coalition Zajedno are too big, said Kostunica, and added that in the sphere of politics we are facing something that is contrary to the principles of real life - after we completed the addition, the result turned out to be of a lesser value than it had been before the operation.

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