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Opposition Victories Reinstated In Yugoslavia Coalition Controls Belgrade, 13 Other Cities And Towns

Wed., Feb. 12, 1997

Parliament handed Serbia’s democratic opposition its first major triumph over Slobodan Milosevic on Tuesday, reinstating local election victories his opponents fought for three months to protect.

But even as Parliament debated a special bill recognizing the Nov. 17 election results, opposition leader Vuk Draskovic said the Serb president could not be trusted to fully implement it.

“We have to remain cautious and doubtful,” Draskovic said. “We have to see how the law is implemented.”

Parliament, where Milosevic’s Socialists and their allies hold a majority, voted 128-0 in favor of the bill to give the three-party Zajedno coalition control of Belgrade and 13 other cities and towns. There were two abstentions.

The vote closed one chapter in the opposition’s struggle and opened another - the bid to drive Milosevic from power in nationwide elections scheduled for later this year.

Milosevic is barred by Serbia’s constitution from seeking a third term, but the opposition fears he may try to stay in power anyway.

Milosevic conceded to the Parliament vote only last week, after nearly three months of protests and foreign pressure, the biggest challenge yet to his decade of autocratic rule.


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