"Nasa Borba" (English) - YUL in Sandzak: With great expectations

Wednesday, June 5, 1996


With great expectations

The leaders of Moslem parties maintain that the Yugoslav United Left (YUL) Party has slim election prospects in Sandzak, while YUL members have high hopes about their first election incursion into this nationally mixed province.

Ever since a book by Dr. Mirjana Markovic was promulgated in Novi Pazar about a year ago and YUL's Regional Assembly was founded shortly thereafter, the coalition of left parties has maintained an active presence on the Sandzak political scene. The latest speculations focus on the election prospects of Yugoslav leftists in Sandzak, which the leaders of Moslem parties describe as slim. YUL members, on the other hand, contemplate their first election outcome in this nationally mixed province with optimism.

During the one-year tenure in this central Sandzak city, YUL made greatest strides in the area of cadre mobilization. The leaders of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) branch office in Novi Pazar, as well as the local radio moguls were dismissed under pressure from YUL. These allegations were, of course, denied by YUL leadership who proclaimed that they would start a local TV station, fight against crime, and promote equal rights among different nationalities.

The leaders of Moslem parties believe that the coalition of left parties in Sandzak will not be successful despite the powerful media onslaught. In their opinion, YUL is a satellite party of SPS with a goal of fragmenting the Moslem electoral body.

Rasim Ljajic, President of the Party of Democratic Action (PDA), asserts that his party is still the most influential among the Moslems of Sandzak, and that the Sandzak-Moslem national corps "will not succumb to communist propaganda".

- YUL will most certainly not be very successful at the next elections in Sandzak, speculates Izudin Susevic, President of the Reformist Democratic Party of Sandzak. Susevic asserts that many Moslems have joined SPS or YUL only to keep or get jobs. As a result of this blackmail, many of his compatriots shun the coalition of left parties.

The local YUL does not react to these accusations. Instead, they focus their activities on the creation of village assemblies and, according to Zuhra Mumdzic, President of YUL's branch office in Novi Pazar, they deal with real-life problems in the area. "YUL's activity has made a notable impression on this region. Membership recruitment has been very successful, and our current membership is greater than that of the other parties in this area. We have focused our activity on political changes in the region, which we plan to accomplish by creating the necessary conditions for equal civil rights, legislative and judicial state, and economic prosperity", remarked Mumdzic in an interview to "Nasa Borba''.

Even though she asserts that the forthcoming elections are not of primary concern to YUL, she estimates that her party stands a good chance of attracting a considerable percentage of voters, an outcome she justifies by YUL accomplishments and the perceived discontent of the people with promises put forward by other parties. The President of the YUL branch office in Novi Pazar strongly denounces demands for the extension of a special status to this area, but, at the same time, she is not satisfied with the position and treatment of Novi Pazar. "YUL believes that Novi Pazar should have a more prominent position in the current territorial arrangement, but not a special status", says Zuhra Mumdzic.

Whether the Moslem party members are better fortune tellers than the optimistically inclined YUL members will be known only after the elections. The extent to which the coalition of left parties is successful in the Sandzak elections will influence greatly their further political activity in nationally mixed regions. By all accounts, Sandzak represents a leftist experiment because this is the only nationally mixed region that is thoroughly "dotted" by YUL legislative assemblies. YUL has made a considerable political "investment" in the Sandzak ``adventure'', whose outcome will have major repercussions on the potential "conquest" of Kosovo.

S. Bisevac

Ugljanin's Invitation

The Sandzak political scene was recently stirred by an announcement from Sulejman Ugljanin, President of Moslem National Council of Sandzak, that he wants to return to the country as soon as possible and that Moslems should participate in the forthcoming elections in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). Ugljanin's return is unlikely in the near future because the warrant issued for his arrest on the grounds of jeopardizing the territorial integrity of the state has not been rescinded.

His political opponent Rasim Ljajic remarked that Ugljanin realized that his absence from the political scene resulted in a "great political setback for the Sandzak Moslems". Ljajic emphasized that he will pay no attention to various political disqualifications and treason epithets attributed to Ugljanin, and added that a unified Moslem election ballot is "the only way Sandzak Moslems can secure a parliamentary seat". "This way we would confirm our political legitimacy and prove that YUL is an artificially inflated balloon that flew over Sandzak", says Rasim Ljajic, President of PDA.

Send us your comments! Selected responses are posted daily.
Copyright © 1996 Yurope & "Nasa Borba" / All rights reserved