The end of Yugoslavia?
At press time, the outcome of parliamentary elections on Sunday, 22 April in Montenegro, the smaller of two Yugoslav republics, was unknown. Pre-elections polls clearly show that the ruling coalition in Montenegro led by President of the Republic Milo Đukanović has the best chances for victory.
Đukanović earlier announced his plans to organize a referendum on independence of Montenegro so that the outcome of those elections might eventually lead to the final disintegration of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Serbs or Serbia
The situation is seen in Belgrade with mixed feelings. Nationalistic groups would welcome such a development while leading intellectuals are afraid of possible further radicalisation of Serbian society.
Yugoslav Federal President Vojislav Koštunica said in an interview that he would not oppose Montenegro's independence, but warned the "secessionists" that the republic would bear the responsibility for further developments in the region.
Montenegrin president Đukanović replied that Montenegro would offer Serbia a dialogue on their mutual state legal status relations, even after the 22 April elections. In an interview for MN television he said that Koštunica was getting involved in the Montenegrin election campaign. "Kostunica is more involved in Serbia's surroundings than in Serbia itself. He is occupied with the Serb problem, and not with Serbia," said Đukanović.
What America wants
There were several statements by American officials that it would be hard not to support Montenegro's desire for independence if Milo Đukanović won the elections. Public opinion in Yugoslavia took as a clear signal of support and another signal being sent to Belgrade.
The Belgrade daily Glas javnosti states that members of the American administration determined through precise analysis that the psychosocial and mental profile of the FRY political elite does not suit them at all and that all the current politicians should be replaced except the FRY President Vojislav Koštunica.
Thomas Fleming, the director of the elite Rockford Institute in Chicago recently visited Belgrade and stated to Belgrade correspondents of American media that Vojislav Koštunica was a smart, honest and truthful politician. He should be the one to discuss with the West all the issues important for the FRY and Serbia, even the one concerning the extradition of Slobodan Milošević to the UN war tribunal in The Hague. Koštunica would accomplish all the negotiations successfully and to every side's satisfaction, Fleming believes.
Nationalists calculate odds for new elections
According to the results of the poll published by Glas javnosti, citizens of Serbia want new republic elections: 73 percent of the people who participated in the poll gave a positive answer to the question: "Should special parliamentary elections in Serbia be announced so that each party inside the DOS coalition could reach the right measure in Serbia's voting body?" A negative answer came from 12 percent.
The poll seems to favour president Koštunica. His right-wing Democratic Party of Serbia, a minor party inside the ruling DOS coalition of 18 parties, is hoping for votes of hard-core Communists and nationalists who previously had supported Slobodan Milošević.
Koštunica's opposition to the UN tribunal in The Hague is, on one side, that of a real nationalist, but on the other side, it is a political calculation. Opponents of President Koštunica say this highlights how much of an opportunist he is. He is facing the possible loss of both the Yugoslav federation and the position of the federal president. He will do any deals to avoid that, they say.
Ljubomir Pajić, 20 April 2001
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